WASHINGTON—The VA announced that for the third time since the 1990-1991 Gulf War, its researchers will contact veterans from that conflict as part of a long term study on their health. According to the VA, the researchers are interested in learning how the health of these veterans has changed over time, and about long-term conditions they may be experiencing like unexplained multi-symptom illnesses. More
SAN FRANCISCO — State and federal investigations will determine what, if any, changes in VA laboratory policies will result from the death of a researcher. The lab at the Northern California Institute for Research and Education at the San Francisco VA Medical Center was closed indefinitely after the 25-year-old researcher died in April from the same type of meningitis for which he was working to develop a vaccine. More
Lack of Documented Nurse Competency Could Put VA Patients at Risk WASHINGTON — Gaps in VA’s nurse-competency practices might be putting patients at risk, according to an investigation by VA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The report found that nurses went years without being assessed for their proficiency on equipment, and, many times, when they failed to demonstrate competency, VA hospitals took no action. More
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE JUNE ISSUE
Single IED Blast Can Cause Degenerative Brain Condition BOSTON — Compelling evidence that a degenerative brain condition can be caused by a single blast, equivalent to a typical improvised explosive device (IED), raises troubling questions about the future healthcare needs of servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The new study found indications in brain tissue from blast-exposed military personnel of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), an Alzheimer’s disease-like condition that has been diagnosed primarily in athletes with repetitive head injuries. The study also noted that as much as 20% of the 2.3 million troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 could have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of exposure to IEDs. Morel
VA Claims Backlog Also Caused By High Error Rate, Not Only Processing Speed WASHINGTON — VA’s goal within two years is to have a claims-adjudication system that gets a first-time claim decision to a veteran within 125 days with 98% accuracy. The agency has a long way to go. It currently has nearly 900,000 claims backlogged in its system and an expected 1.3 million new claims to be filed by the end of 2012. More
Women Closer to Front Lines, Medical Positions Affected WASHINGTON — Women already are fulfilling critical roles in the U.S. military, and new changes to DoD rules will allow women to officially serve even closer to the front lines in a variety of occupations, including medical positions. More than 14,000 new positions were opened to women in the U.S. military as a result of those policy changes, which take into account that battlefields today are not as clearly defined as they might have been during past conflicts. More
Retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli
Labeling PTSD a 'Disorder' Said to Prevent Treatment WASHINGTON — What’s in a name matters for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to proponents of changing what the condition is called, because the word “disorder” keeps some sufferers from getting the treatment they need. The issue came to the forefront last month at the annual American Psychiatric Association meeting, where retired Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli made the case for the name change in a revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. More Please read this article and participate in this month's online opinion poll whether the name post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be changed to post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) to reduce stigma that keeps sufferers from seeking treatment?
"There is only one thing people like that is good for them - A good night's sleep.” - Edgar Watson Howe (1853 – 1937)
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA
E.W. Howe was wise well beyond his time. This spring, as I mark another birthday that has placed me way on the wrong side of 40, I note with frustration that all the things I like seem to be unhealthy. Like so many middle-aged Americans, I fight a continuous battle with the things I love.
My status as a carnivore is constantly under threat due to weight and cholesterol numbers that are not fit to print. I often think Bugs Bunny would be more interested in my lunch than I am, as I crunch another carrot rather than a beloved potato chip. I love working in the yard and chopping wood for home heating, but my back regularly reminds me that I am not 18 anymore. My knees and shoulders protest ever more loudly after a long day of sailing. More