More Opioid Prescriptions, Adverse Effects for Vets with PTSD WASHINGTON — Veterans with PTSD are more likely than others to be prescribed opioids for post-injury pain, and that can lead to an increase in adverse mental and physical effects, according to a recent VA study. According to VA records, more than 141,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been diagnosed with noncancer pain. The prevalence of PTSD among that group is 32%, with 19% diagnosed with other psychiatric disorders. More
VA's Construction Delays, Lack of Transparency Raise Congressional Ire WASHINGTON —As more medical services are moved to veterans at VA’s outpatient clinics, the need for increased space in those facilities has become critical. For some communities, however, the process is plagued by delays. In addition, the chairman of the VA House Oversight Subcommittee is complaining about “dubious practices” and VA’s failure to keep Congress informed. More
Yvette Roubideaux, MD, MPH Indian Health Service Director
WASHINGTON — Members of a House subcommittee questioned recently whether the Obama administration’s proposed budget for the Indian Health Service is sufficient to cover critical health needs, especially the lack of adequate sanitation facilities in the majority of homes. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-ID, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, said the budget request “takes a step backward on already underfunded programs that the United States has a legal and moral obligation to fund.” More
WASHINGTON — In the wake of a killing spree that left 17 Afghan civilians dead last month, questions were raised about whether the U.S. military is effectively diagnosing neurological and psychiatric problems that can become ticking time bombs in war zones. While the mass killing dominated headlines, the Army also was grappling with a controversy over possible underdiagnosis of behavioral health problems at military facilities and an unprecedented suicide rate that underscored the difficulty of containing these issues.More
Few Controls on Potentially Dangerous Supplements Widely Used by Troops WASHINGTON — Popularity of dietary supplements among servicemembers and the lack of formal policy on their sale or use has led to a potentially dangerous situation in the U.S. military, with two soldiers dying last year of heart attacks after ingesting a performance-enhancing product. The Army is conducting a safety review of the compound, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, more commonly known as DMAA, after the two soldiers had heart attacks last year during fitness training, and the substance was found in their toxicology reports. DMAA-containing dietary and performance supplements also were removed from military exchanges and installation concessions. More
WASHINGTON — Will VA’s inability to correctly estimate savings from cost-cutting measures mean the agency ultimately will have to make difficult trade-offs? And will those trade-offs include fewer financial resources than anticipated for healthcare services? Those are frequently expressed concerns for legislators and veteran service organizations as VA’s FY 2013 and advance FY 2014 budget proposals are shopped around Capitol Hill. Such worries are backed up by a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. More
“Today we have 260 million guinea pigs for the dietary supplement industry.” -- William T. Jarvis, PhD.
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA
I was confronted with the marketing of nutritional supplements unexpectedly during my deployment to Afghanistan in 2009. As a physician, I recall expressing my concern to a friend about the impact that multiple dietary protein supplementation would have on the kidneys of soldiers who were often dehydrated, exposed to intense physical activity and in a hot desert environment.
I also was distressed that so much space was devoted to these expensive products, which are not subject to the same protections afforded pharmaceuticals that require testing and approval through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More