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August 2019

Following Guidelines Reduced Morality 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

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Three VAMC Campus Suicides in a Week Heighten Concerns About Prevention

WASHINGTON—Concern over the rate of veteran suicides reached a fever pitch last month after three veterans took their lives at VA facilities over a span of five days. Two of the deaths occurred in Georgia—one... View Article

April 2019

Combat, Not Deployment, Appears to Increase Risk of New-Onset Asthma

BETHESDA, MD—Many reports have suggested that servicemembers who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan developed respiratory illnesses at higher-than-expected rates, but study results looking at increased rates of asthma have been mixed. A new study by... View Article

April 2019

Overcoming Radiation Resistant Prostate Cancer

LOS ANGELES—For nearly half of the patients with localized advanced prostate cancer, radiation therapy is the primary intervention and standard of care for recurrent disease following surgery. The problem is that nearly 30% to 50%... View Article

April 2019

JAK Enzymes Can Treat Leukemia, Lymphoma

NASHVILLE, TN—Precision oncology prescribes the use of molecularly-targeted therapy directed by identification of genomic alterations. A new study suggested the approach is particularly applicable to neoplasms that are resistant to standard cytotoxic chemotherapy, such as... View Article

April 2019

Response of Veterans to PD-1 Checkpoint Inhibitors

RENO, NV—The clinical outcomes and the incidence of adverse events for programmed death-1 checkpoint inhibitors in cancer patients at a VA clinic were different from the data that have been published, according to a new... View Article

April 2019

Steroid Overuse Suggests Benefit to Flipping PCP/Specialist Paradigm in COPD

SEATTLE—New guidelines published in 2017 upended recommendations for use of inhaled corticosteroids in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary. Two years later, many VA patients still receive discordant care. To fix the problem, the VA’s Health... View Article

April 2019

No Link Between Anthrax Vaccine, ‘Lone AFib’

ATLANTA—Concerns have been raised about a possible link between receipt of anthrax vaccine adsorbed and atrial fibrillation in military personnel without identifiable underlying risk factors or structural heart disease. A study in Human Vaccines &... View Article

April 2019

Improving OAC Adherence in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

DURHAM, NC—Treatment of atrial fibrillation patients isn’t always in line with clinical guidelines, but improving adherence to oral anticoagulation has proven to be challenging, according to a new study. The article in Circulation reported on... View Article

April 2019

CVD Risks Differ by Sex in VA Patients

WASHINGTON—Does the incidence of cardiovascular disease differ by sex among veterans as it does with the general U.S. population? A study in the Journal of Women’s Health sought to answer that question. VA researchers from... View Article

April 2019

PTSD Alone Doesn’t Increase Cardiovascular Risk in Veterans

Study Urges Close Monitoring of Physical, Psychological Co-Morbidities ST. LOUIS—Even though veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder are 41% more likely to developing cardiovascular disease than those without, PTSD alone doesn’t fully explain the higher... View Article

2019 issues

Current Treatment Halves Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Hep C Patients

PITTSBURGH—In more good news for veterans who have received treatment for hepatitis C virus, VA researchers have found that treatment not only reduces the risk of complications from liver disease, it also dramatically reduces the... View Article

2019 issues

VA Models Allow Earlier Identification of HCV Patients at Risk of Progression

ANN ARBOR, MI—New prognostic models developed by VA researchers can help clinicians identify which patients who have or have had chronic hepatitis C virus infection will develop cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. While the VA has... View Article

2019 issues

Fewer Than Half of Eligible Servicemembers Complete HPV Vaccine Series

FORT BRAGG, NC—Immunization rates of human papilloma virus (HPV) have risen among active duty forces, but many fail to complete the full vaccine series, despite recommendations from the Defense Health Agency.   “DHA fully endorses... View Article

2019 issues

How Does Breast Density Affect Cancer Risk, Tumor Type?

GAINESVILLE, FL—What is the association of mammographic breast density with breast cancer risk by tumor aggressiveness and by menopausal status and current postmenopausal hormone therapy? That question was addressed in an article in Breast Cancer... View Article

2019 issues

Surgery Delay Does Not Explain Racial Differences in Breast Cancer Survival

BETHESDA, MD—Black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate than white women, but exactly why remains unclear. A new study from the Military Health System just shot down one of the leading explanations... View Article

2019 issues

Greatest VA Weight Gains in Women Veterans Without Diabetes

ATLANTA—How does a diagnosis of diabetes affect weight management among U.S. veterans? A study in the journal Obesity (Silver Spring) sought to assess weight trends and diabetes prevalence among U.S. veterans.1 Atlanta VAMC researchers and... View Article

2019 issues

Diabetes Patients Do Well in Military Healthcare-to-VA Transition

SAN DIEGO—When service members leave active duty and receive healthcare in a different setting, care for conditions such as diabetes can suffer. A study in Military Medicine pointed out that changes in healthcare have been... View Article

2019 issues

NPs, PAs Have as Good Diabetes Outcomes as Physicians

DURHAM, NC—So-called physician extenders do as good a job as physicians at the VA in helping to achieve good outcomes in diabetes patients, according to a new study. The report in Annals of Internal Medicine... View Article

Current Issue

Veterans on Standard Diabetes Care Face Dangers from Hypoglycemia Subhead: Post-hoc VADT Analysis Links Low Blood Sugar to CV Events

BALTIMORE, MD—A post-hoc analysis of the Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial (VADT) once again shines a spotlight on the dangers of hypoglycemia in veterans treated for Type 2 diabetes. The study published in Diabetes Care found... View Article

Current Issue

New Antibiotic Provides Powerful Option for Resistant Pneumonia, Skin Infections

A next-generation tetracycline, omadacycline could improve care for veterans with community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP) and acute skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI).

Current Issue

Physical Fitness Associated With Lower Parkinson’s Rates

While exercise is important physical therapy for Parkinson's disease, it might be more than that.

Current Issue

Surgical Staging Often Inadequate for Gallbladder Cancer

Guidelines frequently aren’t followed when it comes to radical cholecystectomy with regional lymphadenectomy for patients with T1b gallbladder cancer.

Current Issue

Prescribed Opioids Increase Risk of Pneumonia in Veterans

A study looking at whether taking prescribed opioids increased pneumonia risk in veterans with HIV vs. those without came to a disturbing conclusion: The likelihood is increased in both.

Current Issue

Use of Hospice During Treatment Has Limited VA Use

Unlike in most private sector settings, veterans with advanced cancer can receive hospice care concurrently with treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

Current Issue

Most Veterans Receiving VA Mental Healthcare Support Some Gun Restrictions

A survey of veterans receiving mental healthcare through VA found that the vast majority would favor at least one option to restrict firearm access with the goal of reducing dangers of self-harm.

Current Issue

Hypertension, MGUS Associated with Herbicide Exposure in Vietnam Veterans

Based on a new review, two conditions–one extremely common and the other rare–appear to be related to herbicide exposure during the Vietnam War era.