Special Issues



More for You

2017 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Key Associations Urge Clinicians to Inform Patients about SUDUP Risks

NEW YORK – Patients with epilepsy should be told about their uncommon risk of death, especially if they suffer from tonic-clonic seizures, new guidelines state. Controlling those seizures might reduce the risk of sudden unexpected... View Article

2017 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Should Adult Epilepsy Patients Be Told About Unexpected Death Risks?

Elevated Mortality Rates for Veterans Fires Up Debate A shocking report on substantially higher mortality rates for veterans with epilepsy, as well as new guidelines from key disease groups, have reignited debate on a difficult... View Article

2017 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Gene Transfer Improves Function in Heart Failure, Hospitalizations Reduced

Could gene transfer be the answer to reducing hospitalizations for veterans with heart failure? A new trial by VA researchers suggests that’s a good possibility, with a single intracoronary injection of an adenovirus to transfer... View Article

2017 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Non-Teaching VA Clinics More Likely to Prescribe Inappropriate Antibiotics

PROVIDENCE, RI – The VA is working hard to stem the rate of unnecessary and inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in its healthcare system. A new study identifies an area where more work might be required. Researchers... View Article

2017 Compendium of Federal Medicine

DoD Aids Research on Identification of Pathogens in Hours, Not Days

Technology Also Helps Determine Most-Effective Antibiotics By Brenda L. Mooney The DoD’s involvement with the development of new technology to rapidly identify pathogens and appropriate antibiotic therapy has its roots in the Iraq and Afghanistan... View Article

2017 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Lung Cancer Screening Pilot Was Valuable but ’Challenging and Complex’

While the benefits of lung cancer screening are undeniable for some former smokers—especially those whose lives were saved because of it—the VA recently learned some important lessons on how to use the technology most efficiently.... View Article

2017 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Smoking History, Obesity Increase Risk for Renal Cell Carcinoma in Veterans

While toxic exposures such as contaminated water at Camp Lejeune increase the likelihood of developing renal cell carcinoma (RCC), veterans have higher risks for the cancer even beyond those unusual events. A history of cigarette... View Article

2017 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Oral Combination Therapies for MS Offer Superior Effectiveness

By Annette M. Boyle The first retrospective comparison of newer oral disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) to injectable DMTs for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) found that, in real-world settings, patients taking two of the oral drugs had... View Article

2017 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Better Anaerobic Fatigue Measures Could Help Improve Quality of Life with MS

By Annette M. Boyle Multiple sclerosis patients often report fatigue, but it isn’t always clear how that condition affects their functionality. New research is seeking to establish clearer definitions and measures of fatigue in an... View Article

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine Introduction

“Stop focusing on the negative and look at how many people are helped by the VA.”
In a very contentious political year, when candidates of both parties seem to be trying to make us sick so they can demonstrate how they plan to make us better, optimism can be hard to maintain.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Adherence to Guidelines Reduces Risk of Death in Veterans Prescribed Opioids

While both the VA and the DoD have dramatically decreased narcotic prescriptions for chronic pain, a subset of patients, including many wounded warriors, still requires opioid medications to get relief from intractable pain. A new study offers advice on how to do that while reducing the risk of death and addiction.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

More Treatment Options Offer Hope for Veterans With Renal Cell Carcinoma

VA oncologists treating renal cell carcinoma had relatively few tools in their arsenal until fairly recently. During the past decade, the influx of newer treatments has dramatically changed how the kidney cancer is diagnosed and treated, however, and patients are increasingly optimistic about progression-free survival.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Increases Availability of Spirometry to Improve COPD Diagnosis

The VA treats more than a million patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, so it is little surprise that COPD is the first diagnosis that comes to mind when a veteran presents with breathing difficulties. The problem is that the diagnosis isn’t always correct. To remedy the situation, the VA is making spirometry more widely available across the healthcare system.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Changing Epilepsy Demographics Spur VHA’s Progress in Diagnosis, Treatment

Traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder are among the signature injuries for the nation’s youngest veterans. The legacy of those conditions goes beyond the most obvious, however. TBI and PTSD are being partly blamed for the proliferation of epilepsy and other seizure disorders in VHA patients under 45.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Research With Epilepsy Patients Seeks Device to Restore Memory

DALLAS — Imagine if a device could restore memory in veterans who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and subsequently developed epilepsy.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Million Veteran Program Puts VA at Forefront of Push for Use of Individualized Medicine

WASHINGTON — With more data from more than 400,000 veterans, the VA’s Million Veteran Program (MVP) is expanding further as one of the world’s largest medical databases.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Research Provides New Insights Into the Genetic Basis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Older veterans have a significantly elevated risk of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, likely related to increased exposure to the known risk factors of cigarette smoking and environmental dust. New research is looking at genetic predispositions that might help predict which patients are likely to have progression of the devastating disease. That also could provide new targets for pharmacotherapies.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

MS Patients at VA Face Elevated Risk of Hospitalization, Death From Infections

With all of the difficulties faced by veterans with multiple sclerosis, mobility-related and otherwise, they certainly don’t need anything else to worry about. Yet, new research documents that their risk of developing a serious infection or dying from that infection is significantly higher than patients without the neurological condition.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Telephone Counseling Helps MS Patients Increase Beneficial Exercise

SEATTLE — While multiple sclerosis patients get some of the same benefits from exercise as everyone else, physical activity also can help them manage many symptoms of their disease.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Pushed to Recognize Immunization Air Injector, HCV Link

SILVER SPRING, MD — For almost 20 years, veterans and the service organizations that represent them have lobbied Congress and the VA to recognize a link between immunizations received in military service using jet injectors and the high rate of infection with hepatitis C among veterans.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Expanded Treatment Options Led to Increase in RCC Biopsies

With extremely limited treatment options in the past for renal cell carcinoma, there wasn’t much impetus to employ biopsy at the VA. Knowing more about the tumors wasn’t very usual without good options to help the patients.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Tests Telemedicine in Collaborative Approach to Managing Bipolar Disorder

While therapies based on the biology of bipolar disorder might take years to develop, some veterans are finding help living with and managing their disorder through telemedicine.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Advances in Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Treatment Benefit Older VA Patients

Veterans with certain types of soft-tissue sarcoma have been eligible for VA compensation and medical treatment for 25 years, due to its link to Agent Orange Exposure. During that time, the cancer has remained rare — and so have significant treatment advances. In 2016, however, new research and drug approvals have opened up better options for STS and its subtypes, such as liposarcoma.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Biomarker Research Holds Promise to Improve Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

Of all psychiatric illnesses, bipolar disorder is the one most strongly associated with veteran suicide, according to VA research.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Genomic Research Identifies Possible Therapeutic Targets for Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma

Presumptively caused by Agent Orange exposure, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma occurs disproportionately among male veterans. Complicating the clinical approach, the disorders comprising CTCL are similar but differ greatly in response to therapy. New genomic research on the rare cancer, however, is holding out promise for better, more-customized treatment.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Army Medical Center Reduces Alarms to Better Respond to Real Emergencies

High-tech monitoring in an intensive care unit saves lives by letting hospital medical staff know immediately when a patient is in trouble. Managed incorrectly, however, the constant beeping can create “alarm fatigue” and result in medical errors. The answer, according to a nursing team at San Antonio Medical Center, was using the technology appropriately by customizing the alarms for each patient’s situation.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Bigger Budget, Lower Pricing Enable VA to Now Treat All Veterans with HCV

Even though therapies that achieve sustained virologic response in about 90% of hepatitis C patients have been available for several years, the VA wasn’t able to use them universally and instead had to set treatment priorities because of limited resources. The situation has changed, thanks to increased funding and reduced drug prices, so that all VA patients with HCV now will receive the most-effective treatment.

2016 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Genomics Identify Best Candidates for New Hypercholesterolemia Therapies

Patients with familial hypercholesterolemia post extremely high cholesterol levels, even with lifestyle changes and statin therapy, while other patients must discontinue statin treatment because of side effects or intolerance or inability to achieve the desired effect, even on maximum dosages. A new class of drugs to lower LDL-C, injectable monoclonal antibodies that inhibit the PCSK9 protein, is a significant addition to therapies.

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Introduction

One of my earliest memories is walking with my grandfather down the main street of my hometown in southeast Georgia and stopping to talk to a man with a barrel of paper flowers. After greeting him, Grandpop George reached out and shook his hand. He then put some money in a box on the table and selected a bright red flower. I was thrilled when he handed it to me.

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Handbook, Technological Advances Help VA Improve Pressure Ulcer Care

Spinal Injury Patients Especially at RiskQuality organizations consider serious pressure ulcers to be “Never Events,” for U.S. hospitals, and the VA has made great strides in improving prevention and treatment for the adverse events. Now,... View Article

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Tops in Experience With Rare Lymphomas, Looks for More Effective Treatments

As the healthcare system with the most experience treating older men, the VA has special expertise in treating uncommon diseases that plague them, such as peripheral T-cell lymphoma. The current challenge for clinicians is to... View Article

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

With Prostate Cancer Diagnosed Younger, Treatment Options Under Fierce Debate

Since the mid-1980s, six times as many men under 55 now are receiving prostate cancer diagnoses, and the younger patients face considerably higher mortality rates. With the stakes even greater, the debate continues on whether... View Article

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Leads Efforts to Develop Treatments for Rare Blood Disorders

Hope for Future Treatment of Polycethmia Vera, MyelofibrosisRare blood disorders such as polycethmia vera and myelofibrosis can cause a debilitating series of symptoms for the middle-aged and elderly patients who suffer from them. VA researchers... View Article

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

‘Undiagnosing’ Multiple Sclerosis: Managing Patients Who Really Don’t Have It

As many as 10% of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis actually don’t and are receiving treatment for the wrong condition.

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Despite Outcry About Cost, New HCV Therapies Likely to Save Money at VA

Amid all the outcry over the high cost of new hepatitis C therapies, including congressional hearings, a simple fact has been overlooked: The VA expects to save money in the long run because of the... View Article

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Epilepsy Risk 18 Times Greater Wiith Penetrating Traumatic Brain Injury

More than 300,000 military servicemembers have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since 2000, and those suffering a penetrating or severe TBI have an 18 times greater chance of being diagnosed with the neurological condition,... View Article

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA/DoD Issue First COPD Guideline Update Since 2007

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) increasingly is viewed by clinicians as a systemic disease that is treatable, instead of a debilitating lung disease that offers few options for patients.

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Point-of-Care Testing Helps VA EDs Meet Speedy Treatment Goals

VA emergency departments around the country have a goal when it comes to patients they receive.

2015 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Goal: Reducing Heart Failure Admissions 10% in Two Years

The national readmission rate for veterans hospitalized with heart failure within 30 days is 20.87%, but the VA is working to ratchet that percentage down while still providing all necessary care for the patients. Key... View Article

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine Introduction

Until my father enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, he lived in Brooklyn, NY. That changed after serving honorably in Europe during World War II. As soon as he disembarked from the troop ship, he telephoned a woman he met while in training at Camp (now Fort) Stewart, GA. Within hours, he was hitchhiking to Vidalia, GA, to propose marriage to the woman, who became his wife and the mother of my two sisters and me.

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Dermatology Mobile Technology Burgeons; VA Has New App on Drawing Board

More than 200 mobile applications dealing with dermatology are now available, dealing with issues ranging from rosacea to skin cancer, according to VA researchers. How safe and useful are they, and how soon will the... View Article

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Army Turns to NCOs to Combat Obesity, Related Issues, in Soldiers

While the vast majority of soldiers maintain healthy weights, bad habits developed during deployment and on military bases follow them after retiring from the Army. In fact, more than 70% of veterans end up overweight.... View Article

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

High MS Rates in Veterans: Don’t Blame the First Gulf War Zone

Military personnel serving during the first Gulf War have one of the highest incidence rates for multiple sclerosis (MS) ever reported, leading to speculation that environmental exposures in the war zone triggered the disease. Research... View Article

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Rare Lymphoma Challenges VA Clinicians from Diagnosis to Treatment

An estimated 5-10% of all cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) diagnosed each year occurs in veterans treated by the VA. The cancer, classified as presumptively caused by Agent Orange exposure, is notoriously difficult to diagnose and... View Article

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

New Therapies Bring Rapid Changes to HCV Treatment

More than 6,000 veterans with HCV have been treated at the VA in the past two years with the triple therapy of boceprevir or telaprevir plus ribavirin and interferon. In addition, hundreds of veterans have... View Article

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VA Expands Telehealth Bringing Care To Growing Number of Seizure Patients

U.S. veterans deployed since 2001 suffer high rates of epilepsy and other neurological disorders, and the VA now has more than 100,000 patients being treated for seizure, epilepsy or related diagnoses. The challenge is not... View Article

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

New Biomarkers May Be More Accurate than HbA1c in Diabetes Screening

Although widely used to monitor glucose control and — more recently — to diagnose diabetes, HbA1c screening lacks accuracy in a range of patients with hemoglobinopathies, kidney issues or HIV. A new study, supported by... View Article

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

VHA Emphasizes Self-Management in New COPD Care Tool

A new VHA self-management module is designed to help COPD patients help themselves. Slated for introduction later this year, the tool will allow patients to work more closely with their physicians to maximize lung function... View Article

2014 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Recruits, Military Breathe Easier with Relaxed Asthma Accession Standards

Unlike 10 years ago, the military services now accept recruits who had childhood asthma but have not been symptomatic since age 13. The relaxation of accession standards partly was necessitated by the increasing incidence of... View Article

2012 Compendium of Federal Medicine

Introduction by Brenda L. Mooney, Editorial Director, U.S. Medicine

Old soldiers never die, Never die, never die, Old soldiers never die They just fade away. From an old Army ballad made famous in a speech by Gen. Douglas MacArthur That song was sung proudly... View Article

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up