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Cardiology

VA TAVR Results Comparable to Outside Care

RALEIGH, NC—How do veterans fare when they undergo transcatheter aortic valve replacement with the VA? That was the question asked by a study which sought to examine their association with short- and long-term mortality, length... View Article

Cardiology

Sacubitril/Valsartan Underused in VA Heart Failure Patients

LOS ANGELES—A preponderance of evidence supports the use of sacubitril/valsartan, the first angiotensin II receptor blocker-neprilysin inhibitor-for mortality reduction in patients with heart failure, but the medication remains underprescribed, according to new research.. The objective... View Article

Battlefield Medicine

Surgeon Recognized Need for Better Battlefield Care of Orthopedic Injuries

SAN DIEGO—During his first deployment as part of Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Dana Covey, MD, noticed a gap between the injuries that were occurring on the battlefield and the ones that forward surgical teams... View Article

Neurology

Combat PTSD/TBI Increases Amygdala Size in Military Patients

SAN DIEGO—The region of the brain that processes fear, anxiety, aggression and similar emotions is larger in veterans and active-duty service members with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury than those with... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Processes Similar in Schizophrenia, Psychotic Biopolar Disorder

NASHVILLE, TN—Processes leading to impairment in schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder might be more similar than previously assumed, according to a new study. The report in Schizophrenia Research pointed out that neuropsychological impairment is common... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Some Veterans Want Family Involved With Mental Health Treatment

LOS ANGELES—One of the most difficult issues in caring for adults with severe mental illness, including at the VA, is balancing privacy regulations with family members’ desire to be in the know. A study published... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Military Risks for Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia

MIAMI—While a variety of risk factors have been evaluated in ocular surface squamous neoplasia, few studies have assessed risk factors specific to the armed forces veteran population. A report in the journal Eye and Vision... View Article

Oncology

Antibiotics Appear to Inhibit Tumor Activity in CTCL

AARHUS, DENMARK—Do CD4 T cell responses to  Staphylococcus aureus inadvertently enhance neoplastic progression in models of skin cancer and cutaneous T cell lymphoma? A prospective study in the journal Blood examined that question, exploring the... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Lower Dose Cisplatin Preferable in Squamous Cell Carcinoma

PHILADELPHIA—Chemoradiotherapy is commonly used for nonoperative treatment of locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The issue, according to a recent study, is that the standard dose of 100 mg/m2 cisplatin every three weeks is... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Concerns About GI Events Continue With Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate

About 9,000 Veterans Were Prescribed Drug for Hyperkalemia OTTAWA, ONTARIO—Continuing concerns are being raised about the gastrointestinal safety of sodium polystyrene sulfonate, which is commonly prescribed for the treatment of hyperkalemia. The issue is of... View Article

Neurology

Researcher’s Focus on Walking Helps Improve Health, Safety of Veterans

GAINESVILLE, FL—When people want to describe themselves as uncoordinated, they might say they have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. However, the act of walking—one of the most basic human skills—is not... View Article

Meeting the Challenges of Parkinson’s Disease in the Department of Veterans Affairs

Monitor Veterans with Any Level of TBI for Parkinson’s Disease

SAN FRANCISCO—Traumatic brain injury has been called the “signature injury” of recent conflicts, with the DoD reporting nearly 384,000 TBIs sustained between 2000 and the first quarter of 2018. More than 4 out of 5... View Article

Meeting the Challenges of Parkinson’s Disease in the Department of Veterans Affairs

VA Expands Parkinson’s Disease Services to Improve Patient Care

PHILADELPHIA—Building on the success of the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers, established in 2001, the VA has expanded care for the nearly 100,000 veterans affected by the neurodegenerative disease through the creation of... View Article

Meeting the Challenges of Parkinson’s Disease in the Department of Veterans Affairs

Treatment for Hepatitis C Might Provide Lower the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

WASHINGTON – In a case of welcome unintended consequences, the VA might be lowering the risk of Parkinson’s disease by treating another common condition: hepatitis C virus. An unresolved question is whether the treatment, which... View Article

Meeting the Challenges of Parkinson’s Disease in the Department of Veterans Affairs

Court Ruling, New Law Support ‘Blue Water Veterans’ with Parkinson’s Disease

WASHINGTON—A recent political development, more than 50 years in the coming, has the potential to significantly change who receives benefits for Parkinson’s disease through the VA. About 2.6 million veterans who served during the Vietnam... View Article

August 2019

Trying to Determine What Leads to Tobacco Cessation in Vets

MINNEAPOLIS—Incidental pulmonary nodules are commonly found on routine chest imaging, but not enough is known about smoking behaviors among patients with IPNs or characteristics of patient-clinician communication that may contribute to these behaviors. A study... View Article

August 2019

Benzodiazepines Prescribed Long-Term for COPD/PTSD

SEATTLE—Symptoms of insomnia and anxiety are common among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and that is especially the case among patients with comorbid mental health disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder, according to a... View Article

August 2019

Decompensated Diabetes More Common in Certain Racial, Age Groups

ATLANTA—Which diabetes patients are most likely to have decompensated diabetes, defined as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state? A study published in Cureus sought to determine that across age, gender and racial groups of hospitalized... View Article

August 2019

Tight Glycemic Control Increases Fracture Risk in Veterans with Diabetes

DURHAM, NC — Diabetes mellitus among older men has been associated with increased bone mineral density but paradoxically increased fracture risk, according to a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.1 The mechanisms... View Article

August 2019

Metformin Reduces Dementia Risk in Black Veterans With T2D

ST. LOUIS—Use of metformin for Type 2 diabetes significantly reduces the risk of dementia among African American male veterans older than 50, according to a large observational cohort study. The study published in the Annals... View Article

August 2019

VA-led Study Finds U.S. MS Prevalence Is Double Previous Estimates

WASHINGTON—Researchers and policy makers estimated that 300,000 to 400,000 people in the U.S. had multiple sclerosis in 2010, but new data indicates that number grossly undercounted the number of people affected by the neurological disease.... View Article

August 2019

New Biomarker for MS Discovered; Could Replace MRI for Detection

BALTIMORE—A University of Maryland research team has discovered a biomarker that can determine whether a patients has multiple sclerosis or is relapsing, thanks to VA funding. Now two VA organizations focused on technology transfer are... View Article

August 2019

New Guidelines Recommend TNFi Biologics as Initial Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment

BIRMINGHAM, AL For the first time, new guidelines have recommended the use of tumor necrosis factor inhibitor biologics as initial therapy for psoriatic arthritis. While current Group for Research and Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic... View Article

August 2019

Political Issues Related to VA’s Limited Approval of Esketamine for Depression

WASHINGTON—A VA panel this summer opted not to add the new depression medication esketamine, Spravato, to the department’s formulary in the usual way. This came despite strong support from President Donald Trump and an effort... View Article

August 2019

Army Doctor’s Unique Training Helps Improve Battlefield Medicine

SAN ANTONIO— Col. Andrew Cap, the division chief of Acute Combat Casualty Research at the Army Institute of Surgical Research, admits that he’s the last person you want to ask for advice on how to... View Article

August 2019

Tests Show No Lung Changes for Recent Veterans

SAN ANTONIO—Significant airborne hazards were reported during military conflicts in southwest Asia, including geologic dusts, burn pit emissions, chemical exposures, and increased rates of smoking. Yet, despite significant concerns about the respiratory health of deployed... View Article

August 2019

Following Guidelines Reduced Mortality in Veterans at High Risk of Recurrent Stroke

Only 15.3% of Eligible Patients Received All Interventions INDIANAPOLIS—Meticulously following clinical guidelines in VA patients who suffered transient ischemic attack or nonsevere ischemic stroke reduced by nearly one-third their risk of death within a year,... View Article

August 2019

Debate Continues on Esketamine Efficacy and Safety for Depression Treatment

VA Panel Puts Limits on Use of Drug PHILADELPHIA—Is esketamine a revolutionary treatment for depression or just another moderately effective adjunctive medication with some potentially serious risks? The VA’s Medical Advisory Panel leaned toward the... View Article

July 2019

Racial Disparities Found in BRCA Testing, Counseling

DURHAM, NC—Despite increases in BRCA mutation testing, racial/ethnic disparities in counseling and testing have persisted for decades, a study argued. The review published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities said its purpose... View Article

July 2019

VA Guideline Addresses Dental Management of Head/Neck Cancer Patients

SAN FRANCISCO—Few protocols have been published for the dental management of patients with head and neck cancer to prevent complications from head and neck radiation therapy, according to a new study.  The report in the... View Article

July 2019

Patients Treated with Thiopurines Have Higher Skin Cancer Mortality

PHILADELPHIA—Treatment with thiopurines is associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. An article in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology discussed results of a study that... View Article

HIV

Low to No Alcohol Use Optimizes Health Outcomes in HIV Patients

SEATTLE—For years, physicians have encouraged patients diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus to minimize or avoid drinking alcohol. But how much does it really matter? “Controlled alcohol use over time, especially nonuse or very low-level use,... View Article

HIV

Army Researchers Identify a CV Bonus from Early ART Initiation in HIV

SAN ANTONIO, TX—ART has never looked better, at least if you’re an individual recently diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus.  Researchers at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio recently determined that antiretroviral therapy reverses... View Article

July 2019

Bergendahl Uses Video Gaming to Help Fellow Veterans Recover

Mat Bergendahl, MS, LPC, was with the Air Force Security Forces when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. Like many servicemembers, he managed to bring along some personal effects. And, like many people his... View Article

Diabetes

Metformin Halves All-Cause Mortality in Frail Older Veterans

Other Important VA Studies at the American Diabetes Association 79th Scientific Sessions MIAMI—The first-line drug of choice for Type 2 diabetes, metformin has long been known to effectively reduce blood glucose levels and substantially cut... View Article

Cardiovascular Disease

Million Veteran Program Study Raises Questions about Omega-3 Benefits in CAD

BOSTON—Researchers at the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology and Research Information Center demonstrated the value of the VA’s ability to harness the health data of thousands or even millions of individuals in a study that calls into... View Article

Gout

Pharmacist Involvement Improves Gout Therapy Adherence for Veterans

OMAHA, NE—The most common form of inflammatory arthritis—gout—affects about eight million Americans. The disease causes intensely painful flares, but despite the availability of several drugs to manage this chronic, incurable condition, ongoing adherence to therapy... View Article

June 2019

Veterans With PNES Have Lower QoL vs. Other Seizures

PORTLAND, OR—Do seizure disorders affect veterans differently than patients who have never been in the U.S. military? And does the type of seizure matter? A study published in Epilepsy & Behavior examined those issues.1  VA... View Article

June 2019

Higher Efficacy DMTs Reduce MS Brain Atrophy

BETHESDA, MD—How do disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) affect region-specific brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis? A recent study sought to answer that question. Researchers from the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, at The Henry M. Jackson... View Article

Alzheimer's/Dementia

TBI Might Not Be a Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Disease

BOSTON—New research is calling into question whether traumatic brain injury is actually a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. A report in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia discussed recent research with neuropathologic or biomarker evidence of... View Article

HIV

HIV Patients Had Lower PC Incidence in VA Study

NEW YORK—Non-AIDS defining cancers are increasingly important contributors to health outcomes for aging persons with HIV (PWH), according to a recent conference presentation. The presentation also pointed out that, although prostate cancer is prevalent in... View Article

Cancer

HIV Patients Had Lower PC Incidence in VA Study

NEW YORK—Non-AIDS defining cancers are increasingly important contributors to health outcomes for aging persons with HIV (PWH), according to a recent conference presentation which also pointed out that, although prostate cancer is prevalent in aging... View Article

Cancer

VA Study Finds No Link Between ADT, Dementia

LA JOLLA, CA—Research has been conflicting on whether androgen deprivation therapy is related to dementia. A research letter in JAMA Oncology pointed out that two studies reported a strong statistically significant association between ADT and... View Article

Cancer

Agent Orange Exposure Not Associated With Worse PC Outcomes

MADISON, WI—How does a history of Agent Orange exposure affect prostate cancer survival in VA patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy for advanced prostate cancer? That was the question addressed in a Journal of Urology study.1... View Article

Cancer

Oral Cancer Therapies Create Critical Demand for Pharmacists

CHICAGO—The pace of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of oral anticancer medications has rapidly increased, from less than one a year at the turn of the century to 10 in 2018. While patients generally... View Article

Current Issue

VA Awakens to Prevalence of Sleep Apnea in Veterans with Severe Mental Illness

PITTSBURGH—Serious mental illness increases the likelihood of sleep apnea by 26%, according to researchers at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Their study, recently published in Psychosomatics, also found that nearly 9% of all veterans had... View Article

Current Issue

VA Now Allows New Therapy Option for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Condition Significantly Increases Veterans’ Healthcare Costs ORLANDO, FL—VA clinicians now will be able to prescribe a form of ketamine to help patients with treatment-resistant depression. The condition is associated with healthcare resource utilization and costs... View Article

Current Issue

IBD Treatment Can Increase Squamous Cell Cancer Risk

PHILADELPHIA—Treatment with thiopurines is associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, according to a new study. Researchers from the Corporal Michel J. Crescenz VAMC... View Article

Current Issue

High Satisfaction with Teledermatology at Atlanta VAMC

ATLANTA—Teledermatology is comparable to face-to-face visits in providing accurate diagnoses and effective treatments, but it is not clear how patients feel about teledermatology models that more directly convey provider recommendations to patients. A study in... View Article

Current Issue

Erectile Dysfunction Drugs and Skin Cancer in Veterans

LEXINGTON, KY—Is there a relationship between phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor drugs, prescribed for erectile dysfunction, and skin cancers? A large-scale study of veterans sought to determine that. A retrospective review using the VAs Informatics and Computing... View Article