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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
WASHINGTON—Despite significant efforts by DoD and VA to revamp the disability evaluation process, the new system remains “complex and adversarial,” the top Army doctor told a congressional subcommittee.
New House Bill Seeks to Relax Benefit Requirements for Victims of Military Sexual-Assault-Related PTSD
WASHINGTON—In June 2010, legislation was passed making it considerably easier for veterans diagnosed with PTSD to receive service-connected benefits and care from VA.
New Toolkit Advises Providers on Care of mTBI Patients With Additional Conditions Such as PTSD, Pain
Use short, simple sentences. Summarize key points throughout the appointment.
These are among the tips that a recently released toolkit recommends to providers treating military personnel with mTBI who are also suffering from co-occurring health conditions.
WASHINGTON—A nationwide initiative by VA to reduce the spread of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) within its facilities has resulted in a dramatic drop of more than 60% in hospital-acquired infections in less than three years, according to a recent study.
Often Misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's Disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Could Play a Role in Veterans' Dementia
Patients with chronic traumatic encephalopathy are sometimes diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias until post-mortem brain examination proves otherwise. CTE, a preventable form of dementia believed to be caused by repetitive mild head injuries, has been identified in former boxers and football players. Now researchers are turning their attention to former soldiers with mild head injuries to determine whether CTE could cause future dementia development.
Despite Success in Managing Warfarin Usage, VA's Anticoagulation Units' Role Likely to Change With New Drugs
The VA's pharmacist-led anticoagulation units use diligent monitoring and constant overview of patient compliance to keep Warfarin patients’ International Normalized Ratio at a safe level. Despite that success, their future role may be in question because of a new class of medications that doesn’t require routine laboratory monitoring as well as a move toward home-monitoring for Warfarin.
Where There's Smoke: DoD Investigates Causes of Deployment-Related Pulmonary Symptoms Reported by Troops
Dramatic media coverage has helped raise concerns about pulmonary disease in troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although servicemembers have reported increased symptoms, long-term damage from exposure to particulate matter has not been clinically verified. Now, the United States Army Medical Department and other DoD agencies are embarking on a number of investigations into deployment-related lung disease and exposures.
Crohn's disease is difficult to diagnose and complex to treat. For clinicians, the goal is to help their patients, who often are young, to achieve remission and enjoy a better quality of life. Continuing controversies over treatment guidelines can make that challenging.
How Long Before Early Adoption of Insulin Becomes Rule Instead of Exception for Difficult to Control Type 2 Diabetes?
New research suggests that early adoption of insulin can improve long-term outcomes in type 2 diabetes patients. Most practice guidelines, including the VA/DoD guideline, which was updated last summer, still call for oral medication, primarily metformin, as first-line treatment. Insulin currently is reserved for early-stage patients with contraindications or difficult-to-control symptoms, but the introduction of basal insulins, which allow patients to more safety and easily initiate insulin, could mean changes in practice in the near future.
With 90% of U.S. Influenza Deaths in Elderly, New High Dose Vaccine Seeks Lower Mortality, Morbidity Rates
The elderly suffer disproportionately from seasonal influenza, with nearly 90% of all deaths occurring in those older than 65. One explanation is that the standard flu vaccine does not increase antibody levels for older recipients at the same rate as younger recipients. To address that issue, a high-dose flu vaccine was introduced for use in the 2010-2011 influenza season in an effort to decrease the rate of serious illness and/or mortality.
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