In March, then-VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, announced at the annual Wharton Health Care Business Conference that the VA will have eliminated hepatitis C infections among all patients willing and able to be treated by next spring.
While veterans serving in the military during the Gulf War era (GWE) appear to have higher risk for multiple sclerosis and a range of neurological illnesses, little has been documented previously on prevalent types of MS or other clinical features.
While many other cancers have seen dramatic improvement in outcomes in the past 20 years, pancreatic cancer remains one of the deadliest malignancies, regardless of stage at diagnosis, with an overall five-year survival rate of only 8%, according to the American Cancer Society.
The management and upkeep of information technology structures has historically been a challenge for federal agencies.
In a significant change, the American Diabetes Association’s 2018 guidelines advocate use of a glucose-lowering agent with proven cardiovascular benefit or mortality reduction in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and co-morbid cardiovascular disease.
Overall prevalence of diabetes was 20% for the general U.S. population but nearly 25% for veterans, according to a recent study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Recent clinical studies have documented why continuous glucose monitors (CGM) can offer significant benefits to patients diagnosed with diabetes.
This spring, DoD took direct steps to counter a significant impediment to mission readiness—excessive weight among servicemembers.
According to a report from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 42,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2016—five times higher than only seven years prior—and current CDC data shows little evidence that those numbers are any lower for 2017.
Childhood adversity increases risk for alcohol and drug disorders for veterans, and, unlike in the civilian population, veteran women are as likely as men to have those types of problems.
Chances are, if you haven’t trained or practiced at the VA, you haven’t seen cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
While the availability of novel therapies is making the future brighter for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) patients, new treatments also are coming on line for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a hematological cancer distinct from NHL.
By Brenda L. Mooney Editorial Director ATLANTA — When it comes to American politics, we certainly live in contentious – if not always interesting – times. One of those hot-button issues is a so-called single-payer... View Article
By Annette M. Boyle The search has been on for decades: A medication that can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in Type 2 diabetes patients. Late last year, an existing drug was approved... View Article
By Brenda L. Mooney Test results are only one part of the calculation on how sick patients are with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Psychosocial symptoms also play a big role, so that for some veterans... View Article
Chronic rash in a sun-protected area that doesn’t respond to topical treatment likely needs to be evaluated for mycosis fungoides, the most common variant of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Now, a new VA study reports that... View Article
By Annette M. Boyle While treatment options have continued to expand for patients with the most common type of multiple sclerosis—relapsing-remitting—that has not been the case for those with a less-common variety—primary progressive. That changed... View Article
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
DALLAS — Imagine if a device could restore memory in veterans who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and subsequently developed epilepsy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Of all psychiatric illnesses, bipolar disorder is the one most strongly associated with veteran suicide, according to VA research.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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