SAN FRANCISCO - The full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it lacks jurisdiction to overhaul VA’s mental health system, as requested in a class action suit claiming that VA does not provide mental health care in a timely manner. A ruling last summer by a three-judge panel of the court said veterans could look to the courts to seek relief from their claims about VA’s failure to provide adequate or timely care to veterans in need. The full court said the task of addressing problems with VA’s mental healthcare is up to Congress and the administrative branch of government. More
WASHINGTON - All branches of military service now are mandated to set up special units to investigate allegations of sexual assault crimes, which will go through a dedicated court-martial process. That was among a number of new initiatives DoD announced recently to tackle the increasing problem of sexual assaults among troops. That all accusations of attempted or completed rape, sexual assault and forcible sodomy will be handled by a special court-martial convening authority at the colonel or Navy captain level ensures that local commanders take sexual assault seriously, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said. More
Benefits Lost after Improper Discharges for Alleged Personality Disorders WASHINGTON - The U.S. military continues to use improper processes to diagnose significant numbers of servicemembers with pre-existing personality disorders (PD) and then discharge them, according to government documents obtained by an advocacy group. The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) cited new documents released from DoD under the Freedom of Information Act to show the problem is continuing and may be increasing. Personality disorders are considered pre-existing conditions, and servicemembers discharged with those diagnoses are ineligible for financial or medical benefits. More
Nurse at the North Chicago VA Medical Center in Illinois
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - While the medication alerts, automated reminders and warnings that pop up in electronic medical records (EMRs) improve patient care in theory, reality can be quite different: Alerts may be viewed as unhelpful noise by providers and rarely lead to medication changes.That insight comes from a new study by VA researchers that offers a better understanding of how prescribers actually interact with the alert system and how the system can live up to its potential of helping prescribers cut down on medication errors. More
Please read this article and participate in this month's online opinion poll about whether you usually respond to medication alerts on your facility’s electronic medical record, or do you generally ignore them?
Air Force Gets New Instruments to Test for Synthetic Marijuana WASHINGTON - Two new instruments recently purchased by the Air Force will allow it to test as many as 3,000 servicemembers a month for use of a synthetic marijuana product that can not only affect military readiness but also can induce psychosis in users.The new equipment is among the latest efforts to wage war against “spice” (also known as K2), which has become increasingly popular among young people. While the synthetic designer drug produces many of the perception-altering effects of marijuana, it also can produce persistent psychotic symptoms. More
High definition fiber-tracking map of a million brain fibers
WASHINGTON - New technology could allow clinicians to determine precisely what brain functionality has been lost after traumatic brain injury, according to a new study. Head injuries can lead to breaks in fiber tracts, cables in the brain that impact function; however, these breaks are not usually viewable through traditional imaging techniques. Through clearer images produced by an imaging technique known as high-definition fiber-tracking (HDFT), researchers say they have been able to observe and compare the integrity of 40 tracts in the brain, then predict what brain functionality has been lost. More
Revived Adenovirus Vaccine Program Is Paying Off for DoD WASHINGTON - The military’s restored program to vaccinate troops with the adenovirus vaccine appears to be paying off, a new study suggests. After a 12-year hiatus, the military began in October 2011 to vaccinate military trainees with adenovirus type 4 and type 7 Vaccine, Live, Oral (adenovirus vaccine) at military recruit training centers. In a study published recently, researchers used disease surveillance data from the Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, to estimate the impact of the newly reintroduced adenovirus vaccine on both febrile respiratory illnesses (FRI) rates and the number of viruses identified in ill trainees. Their surveillance found that “an initial 75% reduction in FRI and a substantial reduction in numbers of adenovirus type 4 in respiratory swabs are consistent with findings from a controlled, randomized, blinded trial conducted in volunteers at two basic training facilities, in which there was a 99.3% reduction in FRI due to adenovirus type 4.” More
“Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” -- Edward Everett (1794-1865).
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA
Since 2001, I have had the good fortune to serve as the leader of the Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management, Rockville, MD.
Though this organization has had other names since its inception, it has always focused on improving pain management for warriors and their families at home and on the modern battlefield.
The DVCIPM is principally a pain medicine research and coordination organization with a focus on applied science to improve the care of military families today. While my employees at DVCIPM have delivered the organization many laudable accomplishments over the years, I believe I am most satisfied with the young men and women who have used the program to further their own medical education goals. More