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Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia rates higher in women with PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder may be a risk factor for two common pregnancy complications, according to a VA study. Women Veterans with PTSD receiving care in the VA health care system had higher rates of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia than those without PTSD.... (04/26/2017)

Studies probe pre-suicide contact with mental health care among Vets, soldiers

Two recent studies examined the phenomenon of Veterans and service members taking their lives shortly after contact with mental health providers. One points to high risk in the week following discharge from a psychiatric unit. The other study says many soldiers who die by suicide access health care shortly before death.... (04/26/2017)

Press 1 for relief: Phone system shows promise in easing low back pain

To help Veterans with chronic low back pain, VA researchers tested cognitive behavioral therapy delivered through an interactive voice response phone system to the patients in their homes. The approach worked just as well as in-person therapy.... (04/26/2017)

A measured approach to mental health care

One of the goals of VA’s QUERI for Team-Based Behavioral Health is to expand the use of measurement in VA mental health care. The focus is on using patient-reported measures consistently throughout treatment... (04/20/2017)

On the frontlines of diabetes prevention

Researchers compared two VA programs aimed at helping overweight or obese Veterans achieve a healthier weight and ideally stave off diabetes, which affects nearly 1 in 4 VA patients.... (04/20/2017)

Heavy versus light drinking: What are the relative effects on performance years later?

Heavy drinkers develop behavioral tolerance to alcohol over time on some fine motor tasks, but not on more complex tasks, suggests a study led by a VA San Diego Healthcare System researcher. ... (04/10/2017)

Launching VA lung cancer screening program is 'complex, challenging'

According to a recent VA study, developing and implementing a comprehensive lung-cancer screening program for the nearly 900,000 Veterans who are eligible is "complex and challenging, requiring new tools and patient care processes for staff, as well as dedicated patient coordination."... (04/05/2017)

VA surgeon researching cell-based tools to create artificial kidney

Dr. Jason Wertheim, a surgeon and biomedical engineer at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, is leading a bioengineering effort to develop tissue for a replacement kidney and thus circumvent the problem of organ shortage.... (03/23/2017)

Testosterone therapy: Is the verdict now in?

A landmark seven-part study funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging called the Testosterone Trials (TTrials) has produced mixed results.... (03/23/2017)

Study: Electroacupuncture eases pain through stem-cell release

A series of tests involving humans, horses, and rodents has provided the most thorough picture yet of how electroacupuncture—a modern version of the ancient Chinese healing art—eases pain and promotes tissue repair. The study included a VA researcher and more than 40 other clinicians and scientists.... (03/16/2017)

Probing the value of peer mentors for homeless Veterans

A recently published VA study explored the role of peer mentors—in this case, Veterans who were once homeless themselves—in improving the health outcomes of currently homeless Veterans.... (03/16/2017)

Study points to myelin changes as early marker of Alzheimer's

A VA study suggests that changes in myelin, a fatty white substance in the central nervous system that surrounds nerve fibers, may be a very early sign of Alzheimer's disease.... (03/16/2017)

Study shows how H. pylori causes white blood cells to morph

VA researchers and colleagues in Iowa showed in a lab study how neutrophils—the most common type of white blood cell—undergo changes when infected by the common pathogen H. pylori. The team is the first to demonstrate such changes in cells isolated from human blood.... (03/09/2017)

Blood pressure drug found to be better for bones, versus other treatments

A large database study by a team including a VA investigator shows that one of the drugs frequently given to combat high blood pressure, chlorthalidone, may also improve bone strength and cut the risk of osteoporotic fractures.... (02/28/2017)

What happens when patients access their mental health providers' notes?

Thanks to electronic health records and online portals, more and more patients have access to the notes their clinicians write about their health care visits. A study from one VA site offers insight into the potential for this feature, known as OpenNotes, to help—or hurt—patients' trust in their mental health clinicians.... (02/28/2017)

Chemical shows promise in subduing joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis

VA and Stanford University researchers have tested a chemical compound that works to prevent an initial phase of tissue inflammation and improve the immune system. They say it holds promise for those with rheumatoid arthritis, in particular.... (02/16/2017)

VA-Defense study aims to track mild TBI over decades

VA and Defense researchers are enrolling at least 1,100 service members and Veterans who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan to learn more about mild traumatic brain injury and how it can be best evaluated, and perhaps prevented and treated.... (02/09/2017)

An alternative theory on how aspirin may thwart cancer

Many studies have pointed to a role for aspirin in cancer prevention. Scientists have been unsure how the drug works in this regard, although they usually cite aspirin’s anti-inflammatory effect. New lab studies by VA researchers and colleagues point to a different mechanism at play. ... (02/07/2017)

Program aims to help those with diabetes fend off foot ulcers

Researchers at the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System are seeking new ways to prevent the recurrence of foot ulcers in Veterans with diabetes. The problem is a leading cause of amputation... (02/07/2017)

Exploring the link between trauma and disordered eating for female Vets

A qualitative study involving a small group of female Veterans explored how military trauma that is related to such conditions as depression and PTSD can trigger disordered eating, a wide range of abnormal eating behaviors... (02/02/2017)

VA orthopedist hopes biologic disc will serve as cure for degenerative disease

VA researchers in Philadelphia are targeting degenerative disc disease with a lab-grown “biological disc” they say would act like a healthy, natural disc when transplanted into the body... (02/02/2017)

Light-based process could lead to new glaucoma treatments

In VA-funded work aimed at finding better treatments for glaucoma, researchers are using optogenetics, a new technique that relies on light to control the behavior of proteins or cells in living tissue. ... (01/19/2017)

Study finds wide, if uneven, use of PTSD psychotherapies in VA

A review of VA research studies has confirmed the widespread use in VA of two evidence-based psychotherapies to treat PTSD. But at the same time, the review points to inconsistencies in how the therapies are applied. ... (01/19/2017)

When non-adherence to guidelines is a good thing: Study on COPD yields surprising results

A study at the Northport VA Medical Center in Long Island, New York, offers a glimpse at what happens when doctors’ clinical intuition collides with the guidelines they are supposed to follow.... (01/19/2017)

Building a better denture

VA researchers are collaborating on a new antifungal denture that fights stomatitis, a recurring mouth infection that plagues denture wearers.... (01/11/2017)

Studies underscore drug risks for Vets using VA and Medicare

A set of recent VA studies pointed to safety risks for "dually enrolled" Veterans who have prescription drug coverage through both VA and Medicare Part D. ... (12/22/2016)

Study to explore needs of upper-limb amputees

Researchers hope the data they collect through a study of Veterans and active-duty members who have lost an upper limb will further improve amputation care in VA and the Department of Defense.... (12/22/2016)

Suicide exposure leaves emotional scars on Vets, service members

Research suggests that among military and Veteran populations, the loss of a loved one, friend, or peer to suicide may increase one’s own risk for suicide.... (12/22/2016)

Study links herbicide exposure, high blood pressure

A VA study has found that exposure to herbicides is "significantly associated" with the risk of high blood presure in members of the Army Chemical Corps.... (12/13/2016)

VA researcher seeks to improve HIV care for Vets in rural areas

A research project is using videoconferencing to connect Vets with HIV in rural areas with VA specialists in remote locations.... (12/13/2016)

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops’ exposure to dust storms, pollution

VA researchers and colleagues are looking to satellites and airport visibility readings to learn about hazardous air conditions facing deployed troops. ... (12/06/2016)

Learning from high-achievers with schizophrenia

VA researchers and colleagues in Los Angeles interviewed occupational high-achievers with schizophrenia to learn how they cope.... (12/06/2016)

Smartphone app helps Veterans control unpleasant thoughts

A VA-Defense study shows that the Virtual Hope Box smartphone app can help Veterans cope with stress and unpleasant thoughts, including those that could lead to suicide... (11/30/2016)

Program looks to improve family relationships for Vets coping with post-deployment challenges

Iraq and Afghanistan combat Veterans and their partners are taking part in a multifamily treatment program that is the centerpiece of an ongoing VA study... (11/23/2016)

Study: Physical environment checklist leads to sharp decline in inpatient suicides at VA facilities

VA's Mental Health Environment of Care Checklist has led to a sharp reduction in suicides among patients hospitalized in VA psychiatric units, says a new VA study.... (11/23/2016)

Study: Bacterial infections linked to increased risk of dementia in older Veterans

A VA study found that older Veterans are at much higher risk for dementia when they have a history of bacterial infections outside the central nervous system.... (11/17/2016)

Studies shed light on use of observation stays in VHA system

While the use of observation status may impact how patients are billed, this is not the driving force in determining the patient's status.... (11/17/2016)

Study: EEG can help tell apart PTSD, mild traumatic brain injury

A VA study suggests that EEGs, which measure brain waves, can be used to help tell apart PTSD from mild traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of the two conditions often overlap.... (11/10/2016)

Studies point to gene-based glitches in ill Gulf War Vets

Researchers at the Minneapolis VA have pinpointed genetic variants that appear to make Veterans more vulnerable to Gulf War illness. The team also found that a certain type of brain scan can reliably distinguish between Vets with and without the illness.... (11/10/2016)

Researchers exploring 3D printing to help Vets with disabilities

Created more than 30 years ago, three-dimensional printing (3DP) has seen a sudden rise in interest within medicine, and VA has been tapping the technology to improve life for disabled Veterans... (11/01/2016)

Study finds added burden on caregivers of Vets with PTSD and dementia

VA investigators recently published the first known study on the impact of co-existing PTSD and dementia on family caregivers, who provide the bulk of care to Veterans with those conditions.... (10/27/2016)

Document search tool may boost treatment of Vets with congestive heart failure

Clinicians and informatics experts at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System have designed a system that uses natural language processing to help improve care for Veterans with heart failure.... (10/27/2016)

VA’s Middleton Award to researchers studying bone diseases, cancer

VA has recognized two researchers with its 2016 Middleton Award: Dr. Stavros C. Manolagas, who studies osteoporosis and other metabolic bone diseases; and Dr. Ann Richmond, who studies cancer.... (10/20/2016)

Study finds epigenetic changes in children of Holocaust survivors

A team led by a VA researcher showed for the first time in humans that molecular changes caused by exposure to trauma can be passed on to children born after the event—in this case Holocaust survivors and their adult children... (10/20/2016)

VA lab research yields insight on heart condition common in Veterans

Lab research at the Columbia (Missouri) VA has important implications for Veterans and others with a common form of heart failure. The work offers new insight into how drugs called mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists can help... (10/06/2016)

Injectable antipsychotic leads to cost-savings for Vets with schizophrenia

A VA database study found cost-savings to treatment of schizophrenia with a long-acting injectable antipsychotic drug, versus oral atypical antipsychotics. The injectable drug was more expensive but saved on hospitalization costs... (09/29/2016)

Study confirms high cure rates with new hepatitis C drugs

A large database study found that new drug regimens for hepatitis C have resulted in "remarkably high" cure rates among patients in VA, the nation's largest provider of care for the condition.... (09/29/2016)

Closing in on biomarkers for suicidal behavior

An enzyme called ACMSD, involved in brain inflammation, could become an important target for new drugs aimed at preventing suicide... (09/22/2016)

Can ultrasound help rebuild knee cartilage?

A VA team is testing a potential new therapy that promises to regenerate cartilage. The researchers hope it can eventually be a viable alternative to drugs or surgery to treat arthritis... (09/22/2016)

Clerks—the unsung heroes of primary care?

A research team in Iowa has been studying VA Patient Aligned Care Teams, with a recent focus on clerks and the "emotional labor" they perform on behalf of patients... (09/13/2016)

Study: Iraq, Afghanistan Vets with brain injuries at increased risk of car crashes in post-deployment

A VA study found that Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans with traumatic brain injuries have a fourfold risk of being hospitalized from a motor vehicle crash, compared with Veterans of this cohort without such injuries ... (09/13/2016)

Research yields insight on sexual misconduct in the military going back to World War II

Amid a growing focus in recent years on sexual misconduct in the military, a new VA study offers a snapshot into the existence of sexual improprieties toward women in the military going back decades... (09/07/2016)

Study: No race bias in VA kidney transplant evaluations

In contrast to what has been found in some studies in the private sector, VA patients who need a kidney transplant are unlikely to face racial disparities in the evaluation process... (08/16/2016)

Lab team spins ginger into nanoparticles to heal inflammatory bowel disease

Researchers with VA and the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University have developed "edible ginger-derived nanoparticles" that they believe may be good medicine for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease. The particles may also help fight cancer linked to colitis, according to experiments in mice... (08/16/2016)

Fecal transplants—what do patients think?

For those struggling to rid themselves of C. difficile—which often involves severe diarrhea and overwhelming fatiguethe yuck factor involved with fecal transplants might be the least of their concerns, say researchers with VA and the University of Wisconsin... (07/27/2016)

Runners at no higher risk for knee arthritis, says study

VA and university researchers have analyzed data—including X-ray findings—on more than 2,000 people and concluded that runners are at no higher risk for symptomatic knee osteoarthritis... (07/27/2016)

Study in mice suggests stem cells could ward off glaucoma

An infusion of stem cells could help restore proper drainage for fluid-clogged eyes at risk for glaucoma. That's the upshot of a study led by a VA and University of Iowa team... (07/21/2016)

Cinnamon may be fragrant medicine for the brain

If Dr. Kalipada Pahan's research pans out, the standard advice for failing students might one day be: Study harder and eat your cinnamon... (07/21/2016)

New computer-based test aims to make PTSD screening faster, more accurate

VA researchers are developing a new tool to assess PTSD. Known as a computerized-adaptive test, the system uses a computer algorithm to adapt questions in real time based on the patient's answers to the previous items... (07/11/2016)

Yale-VA study yields promising results from genetically tailored pain treatment

A Yale-VA team used genetic information to tailor drug therapy for two patients with an inherited chronic pain syndrome. The researchers believe the approach may have wide potential for treating pain.... (07/11/2016)

Study yields potential blood biomarkers for Gulf War Illness

Based on a study of 85 Gulf War Veterans, VA researchers in Minneapolis have developed a tentative panel of blood markers they say can verify a diagnosis of Gulf War Illness with 90 percent accuracy... (07/05/2016)

Study traces impact of housing on health care for formerly homeless Veterans

Compared with Veterans who are still homeless, those in VA permanent supported housing receive outpatient care for more diagnoses, according to newly published research... (07/05/2016)

Atlanta VA studies highlighted at American Diabetes Association sessions

Two studies from the Atlanta VA Medical Center were spotlighted at the recent American Diabetes Association meeting. One looked at weight trends among Veterans. The other proposed a new approach to identifying those at risk for diabetes... (06/28/2016)

Hot on the trail of PTSD genes

There's no definitive evidence yet for any single gene or set of genes. But scientists have promising leads and believe they are drawing closer to genetically tailored PTSD therapy... (06/21/2016)

Study finds uptick in lung disease in recent Veterans

The prevalence of asthma, COPD, and some other lung conditions rose between 2003 and 2011 among VA patients who served in Iraq and Afghanistan... (05/23/2016)

Study suggests biomarkers could help ward off pressure ulcers for spinal cord injury patients

A team including a VA researcher pinpointed two proteins that appear to warn of the risk of pressure ulcers in patients with spinal cord injury... (05/13/2016)

Study: Symptoms of 'chronic multisymptom illness' may be common in Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans

In a study of more than 300 soldiers who had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, a majority reported symptoms consistent with "chronic multisymptom illness"—a diagnosis that up till now has been associated mainly with Gulf War service... (05/13/2016)

How to engage Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans in health research: Lessons from focus groups

VA's Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center conducted 10 focus groups in five U.S. cities in late 2015 to gain insight into how to involve Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans in VA research... (04/22/2016)

Study: Older age alone shouldn't rule out knee replacements

Total knee replacement has grown sharply in popularity in recent years, especially among middle-aged adults. Should older patients—say, those in their upper 80s—be disqualified from the surgery on the basis of age alone? No, say VA researchers.... (04/13/2016)

VA-Yale lab delivers cells in collagen scaffold that mimics bone marrow, where they originate

A VA-Yale team has devised a new way to deliver stem cells for healing diabetic ulcers. They say the method, shown to work in diabetic mice, has a good chance of working in human... (04/13/2016)

Study questions effectiveness of commonly used medication for back pain

A study at the VA San Diego Healthcare System suggests the pain medication gabapentin is no more effective than placebo at treating chronic low back pain. ... (04/06/2016)

New study reports on suicidal thinking among U.S. Veterans

Nearly 14 percent of Veterans reported suicidal thinking at one or both phases of a two-year VA study. The study involved more than 2,000 Veterans who took part in the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study... (04/04/2016)

Which bionic limb to prescribe? Gait lab aims to build evidence base

Today there are more than 100 different models of prosthetic feet available, ranging from the relatively simple to the sophisticated, and several models of computerized knees. How do clinicians know which components are best for a Veteran? VA researchers in New York aim to make the prescribing process more scientific... (03/23/2016)

Study: VA doing good job at managing migraines

A VA-Yale study that looked at the care of more than 57,000 Veterans diagnosed with migraine headaches finds that VA compares favorably with the private sector in terms of following best practices for treatment and prevention... (03/09/2016)

Beyond Alzheimer's: Study reveals how mix of brain ailments drives dementia

An analysis based on long-term studies of nuns and Japanese American men provides compelling new evidence that dementia often results from a mix of brain pathologies, rather than a single condition... (03/08/2016)

For mental health patients who smoke, more intensive phone support may boost quit rates

A study at six VA sites found that specialized counseling delivered by telephone may be more effective than standard state "quit-lines" to help smokers in mental health care kick the habit... (02/26/2016)

Study offers snapshot of colonoscopy quality in VA versus private sector

A study at one VA site found that the detection rate for potentially precancerous polyps—a key measure of colonoscopy quality—was higher among patients whose procedures were done in VA than among similar VA patients who were referred out for colonoscopy to private facilities... (02/26/2016)

Lab team aims to block blood supply of invasive breast cancer

In lab studies using mice, a team at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center has found that blocking a certain protein with a lab-made antibody can choke off the blood supply to aggressive breast tumors and thwart their growth... (02/17/2016)

High opioid doses could be marker for suicide risk

In a study of nearly 124,000 Veterans, those receiving the highest doses of opioids were more than twice as likely to die by suicide, compared with those receiving the lowest doses. But it's unclear whether there's a direct causal link. The high doses may be a marker for other factors that drive suicide—including unresolved severe chronic pain... (02/03/2016)

New robotic wheelchair in the works at Pittsburgh lab

A robotic wheelchair being developed by a VA and University of Pittsburgh team has a self-leveling feature that keeps the chair from spilling its driver onto the ground when traversing rough, sloping, or otherwise uneven surfaces... (02/03/2016)

Treating TBI and PTSD together

VA researchers in San Diego are testing a combination treatment that targets both PTSD and mild TBI. Weekly sessions weave in cognitive rehabilitation strategies with an evidence-based form of psychotherapy... (01/26/2016)

VA comparison of two 'water pills' will use new clinical-trial approach

A trial comparing two diuretic medications is one of the first examples in VA of "point of care" research. Experts say the innovative model is more cost-effective than conventional clinical trials, and the results easier to translate into everyday care... (01/26/2016)

PTSD pioneer Dr. Terence M. Keane receives 2015 Barnwell Award

Dr. Terence M. Keane, who helped lay the foundation for the understanding of PTSD as a serious mental health problem that can stem from both military and civilian traumas, received the 2015 Barnwell Award from VA Clinical Science Research and Development... (01/19/2016)

Dr. James Henry receives VA's Magnuson Award for advancing tinnitus treatment

Dr. James Henry, an audiology researcher widely known for his innovative work on treating and managing tinnitus, is the recipient of VA's 2016 Paul B. Magnuson Award... (01/12/2016)

Cardiologist cited for work on heart arrhythmias

Dr. Nabil El-Sherif received the American College of Cardiology's prestigious Distinguished Science Award for 2016 in recognition of his pacesetting research on heart arrhythmias... (01/12/2016)

Study ties insurgency phase of Iraq War to higher PTSD rates

Guerilla tactics such as suicide attacks and roadside bombs may trigger more posttraumatic stress than conventional warfare, suggests a VA study of 738 Iraq Veterans. The study was led by VA’s National Center for PTSD... (12/28/2015)

Cell harm seen in lab tests of e-cigarettes

A lab team at the VA San Diego Healthcare System tested two types of electronic cigarettes and found they damaged cells in ways that could lead to cancer. The damage occurred even with nicotine-free versions of the products... (12/28/2015)

Twitter: A vital tool for aspiring doctors?

More than 75,000 health professionals worldwide share information and discuss treatments on Twitter. In a recent study, VA and university researchers looked at how medical students are using the popular social media platform to fast-track their careers... (12/16/2015)

Roughly half of Army Veterans use VA once they are eligible

About half of Army Veterans who served on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan enrolled in and used VA care within a year of separation from the military, according to a recent VA study. The work included more than 151,000 active-duty members who had deployed and then separated from the Army between 2008 and 2012... (12/16/2015)

Telemedicine helps get diabetes under control

A new telehealth program developed at the Durham VA Medical Center may be sweet news for Veterans whose diabetes has not responded to standard care... (12/10/2015)

What good can come of trauma?

"Posttraumatic growth" may not be a household term like posttraumatic stress disorder. But thanks in part to recent VA studies, the idea is becoming more familiar—both in the research world and among Veterans who have been through traumas... (12/10/2015)

Expanding the focus on women Veterans

By linking research programs at dozens of sites, VA’s Women’s Health Practice-Based Research Network makes it easier for researchers to do large, multisite studies involving women Veterans. ... (12/01/2015)

Study finds gaps in VA care for hepatitis B

A study of national VA care for patients infected with the hepatitis B virus found gaps in testing and follow-up care. The results are similar to those from studies of non-VA care. The researchers recommend more education for providers... (12/01/2015)

Can magnetic stimulation help TBI headaches?

A small study involving Veterans with headaches related to mild traumatic brain injury found positive results from a treatment called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation... (11/19/2015)

Using a mouse model of Gulf War Illness, researchers dig deep for potential treatments

At a recent scientific meeting, VA and Roskamp Institute researchers presented their latest findings from a mouse model of Gulf War Illness that they developed. They found disturbances in lipids that are important for brain function... (11/19/2015)

Long-term survival data support original results of landmark COURAGE study

The COURAGE trial influenced how doctors care for patients with chest pain due to blocked arteries. The study discouraged invasive procedures for patients who might do just as well with drugs and lifestyle changes. New long-term results support the recommendations... (11/19/2015)

Unleashing the power of the grape: Researchers revisit resveratrol

Dr. Nihal Ahmad's lab at the Madison VA Medical Center and the University of Wisconsin studies natural compounds that may fight cancer. Resveratrol, found mainly in red grapes, shows great potential—provided scientists can figure out how to get the body to absorb it more effectively.... (11/12/2015)

Study at one VAMC finds high rate of sexual dysfunction among new Veterans

In a study at one VA post-deployment clinic of 247 Veterans who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan, nearly 1 in 5 screened positive for sexual functioning difficulties. Factors that were linked with self-reported sexual dysfunction included depression, PTSD, female sex, and a higher service connection rating... (11/10/2015)

Study finds scant evidence of TBI as trigger for mental health problems

Mild traumatic brain injury, by itself, may not lead to mental health problems such as PTSD or mood or anxiety disorders. That is the key finding from a VA study of 107 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, led by a team at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center... (11/03/2015)

Expressive writing shows some benefits for returning Vets

In a study of nearly 1,300 returning Veterans reporting reintegration problems, those who completed online expressive-writing sessions showed more improvements than peers who had not written at all or who had engaged only in factual writing... (11/03/2015)

Promising results seen from deep brain stimulation in combat Veteran with treatment-resistant PTSD

VA doctors in Los Angeles have performed the first-ever trial of deep brain stimulation to treat PTSD. The patient is a Gulf War Veteran whose traumatic nightmares and other PTSD symptoms had failed to respond adequately to standard treatments, including medications and psychotherapy... (10/26/2015)

Latest study from BrainGate team shows new advances in direct cortical control of computer

In the latest report on BrainGate, an investigational device that allows people with paralysis to control computer cursors just by thinking about the movement of their own hand, researchers describe the best performance yet by study volunteers using the system.... (10/23/2015)

Genomic medicine: The next frontiers in VA

Dr. Ronald Przygodzki is VA's director of genomic translation research. As the Million Veteran Program moves steadily toward its goal of enrolling 1 million volunteers, Przygodzki's team is figuring out how VA can best use the resulting data and research findings to improve Veterans' care... (10/15/2015)

Study ties restless legs syndrome to heart, kidney problems

A database study of Veterans found that those with restless legs syndrome are at higher risk for stroke, heart and kidney disease, and earlier death. Studies in the past had suggested such links, but the new research provides the strongest evidence yet.... (10/08/2015)

Study may temper expectations for new hepatitis C drug

VA researchers found that the cure rates for a new hepatitis C drug, as used in the "real world" VA population, did indeed beat those of older regimens—but they fell short of the successes seen in clinical trials for the drug... (09/21/2015)

Study finds shortcomings in VA testosterone-prescribing practices

Only a small proportion of men who received a testosterone prescription from VA between 2009 and 2012 underwent appropriate testing, and some received the therapy despite important contraindications, according to a VA study... (09/21/2015)

Treating prostate cancer: Should race matter?

Do African American men, by dint of their DNA, have more aggressive prostate tumors? And should their doctors, accordingly, take a more aggressive approach in tackling their disease? A VA group in Brooklyn, N.Y., is among those studying the issue.... (09/10/2015)

VA taking part in public-private study on Veteran reintegration

VA is among several public and private partners working with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation on a study aimed at learning what types of programs and services are most helpful to Veterans as they reintegrate after deployment.... (09/10/2015)

Researchers report biomarkers and apps that predict suicide risk

In a study of 217 men with diagnosed mental illnesses, researchers with VA and Indiana University used blood biomarkers and tablet-based questionnaire apps to predict which of the men would be most likely to begin thinking about suicide, or to attempt it... (08/26/2015)

Mood disorders after deployment: Could a parasite be partly to blame?

A team of VA and university researchers has raised the question of whether the parasite T. gondii might be partly to blame for the mood disorders that some troops experience after deployment... (08/26/2015)

Longer colonoscopies linked to lower cancer rate

Research by a VA team has confirmed that longer-lasting colonoscopies—those with a longer "withdrawal time"—are associated with lower cancer rates. The findings were based on nearly 77,000 procedures... (08/20/2015)

Women warriors at no greater risk for PTSD than men, study finds

While past research on the question has been mixed, a new study by Defense and VA researchers suggests that women in the military are at no greater risk than men for developing posttraumatic stress disorder, given similar experiences—including combat... (08/20/2015)

Raymond Schinazi, drug-development pioneer, earns VA's highest honor for biomedical research

Dr. Raymond F. Schinazi, senior research career scientist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, received the 2015 William S. Middleton Award from VA for his pioneering work in discovering drug treatments for infectious diseases... (08/20/2015)

In the works: A 'nano' approach to building bone

VA scientists in Atlanta are developing a nanoparticle based on the mineral silica that they hope will one day be an alternative to current osteoporosis drugs. ... (08/12/2015)

Maggots in medicine: Ancient therapy making comeback as wound-healing option

Maggot, or larval, therapy has been around since ancient times as a way to heal wounds. Now, the method has gone high-tech—in some ways—and it's being tested in a rigorous VA clinical tria... (08/12/2015)

Study of 83,000 Veterans finds cardiovascular benefits to testosterone replacement

A VA database study of more than 83,000 patients found that men whose low testosterone was restored to normal through gels, patches, or injections had a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from any cause, versus similar men who were not treated... (08/10/2015)

Does the term 'hypertension' lead some patients astray?

"Hypertension" and "high blood pressure" mean exactly the same thing. But a VA research team in Boston believes the first term may give some patients a distorted idea of the condition—and undermine efforts to treat it... (08/06/2015)

Rising stars in research

Some 20 top-caliber junior scientists, all recipients of Career Development awards from VA, met in the nation's capital to share their accomplishments, network, learn about each other's work, and receive coaching on how to navigate the next phase of their research career... (08/06/2015)

Magnuson winner Dr. Charles Levy known for compassionate, innovative rehab care

Dr. Charles Levy, winner of the 2015 Magnuson Award—VA's highest honor for rehabilitation investigators—has been called a "fierce advocate" for disabled Veterans. He has a long track record of innovating new models of rehab care... (08/03/2015)

Do doctors dislike overweight patients?

What does it mean to be an overweight or obese patient in today's health care system? Researchers are studying the roots—and ramifications—of obesity bias, stigma, and discrimination... (08/03/2015)

Brain damage from high blood pressure starts early

Researchers imaged the brains of more than 300 Vietnam-era Veterans. Those with high blood pressure showed similar damage to the brain's white matter—the "highway" by which electrical signals are relayed from one neuron to another—regardless of whether the condition was relatively new or long-standing... (07/23/2015)

To prescribe or not to prescribe: When it comes to antibiotics, that is the question

Through in-depth interviews with 30 hospital physicians, researchers explored the factors that influence the prescribing of antibiotics. Past research suggests up to a half of antibiotic prescriptions for hospital patients are unjustified or unnecessary... (07/23/2015)

Virtual reality boosts job-interview skills for Veterans with PTSD

Studies have shown promising results for a virtual-reality computer program that helps those with PTSD or other special challenges master their job-interview skills... (07/14/2015)

Sleep apnea linked to kidney disease in large study of Veterans

Obstructive sleep apnea—in which the airway becomes narrowed or blocked during sleep—was associated with a greater risk of kidney disease in a database study of more than 3 million VA patients... (07/14/2015)

In pursuit of precision medicine for PTSD

Brain scans of war Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder have led researchers to an area of the prefrontal cortex that appears to be a good predictor of response to treatment with SSRIs—the first-line drug treatment for PTSD... (07/09/2015)

New research on chronic disease to use MVP data

VA is funding four new studies that will use genetic and other data from its Million Veteran Program to answer key questions on heart disease, kidney disease, and substance use—high-priority conditions affecting Veterans... (07/06/2015)

Veterans as tour guides around the VA: New research method gleans insights from patients

Seeing VA medical centers through the eyes of the Veterans who come there for care—that was the goal of recent studies by a VA team. The researchers used guided tours, given by the patients themselves... (07/01/2015)

Pilot study with 25 Veterans yields promising results on Swedish massage for knee pain

VA and Duke University researchers found in a pilot study that Swedish massage is an acceptable and feasible treatment for VA health care users with osteoarthritis of the knee. Moreover, those in the study reported improvements in pain, stiffness, and function... (07/01/2015)

Training the next generation of nurses: Studies highlight success of VA's partnership with nursing schools

Innovative partnerships between VA medical centers and their affiliated nursing schools are preparing a new generation of nurses who are well-attuned to Veterans' health issues, whether they end up working in VA or other health systems... (07/01/2015)

Depression study points to value of in-person social contact

A VA study found that routine in-person contact could substantially reduce the risk of depression for older adults. Written or phone contact did not have the same effect... (06/25/2015)

A body's own microRNA could prove the best weapon in the fight against stubborn bladder cancer

Emerging research suggests that certain microRNAs—small RNA molecules that help regulate genes in the body—can help suppress cancer. One of the latest examples comes from a VA and university team in Northern California... (06/12/2015)

Researchers assess impact of travel time on Veterans' stroke outcomes

A study found, not surprisingly, that the more time it took Veterans to travel to a VA emergency room, the more likely they were to die in the hospital following the stroke. The results underscore the challenges VA faces in providing health care for Veterans in rural areas... (06/10/2015)

Preventing a rare but often fatal heart disorder

The abnormal heart-rhythm condition known as Long QT syndrome is rare, but it can cause sudden death from cardiac arrest. Now, an international team including VA researchers has new recommendations on how to prevent it in certain patients... (06/10/2015)

Anatomy of a virtual ICU: Study probes teamwork among on-site, remote staff

Telemedicine has reached the realm of the intensive care unit, with experts at regional centers providing virtual, high-tech support to local doctors and nurses providing hands-on care. A VA study looked at the teamwork between virtual and in-person ICU staff... (06/02/2015)

Despite evidence, many Veterans with PTSD hesitant to try psychotherapy

Numerous studies attest to the effectiveness of evidence-based psychotherapy for treating PTSD. But many Veterans are reluctant to take advantage of this treatment option. Researchers probed the reasons for the reluctance through qualitative interviews with 23 Veterans... (06/02/2015)

For patients with schizophrenia, a shot of electricity could help with facial emotion recognition

Transcranial direct current stimulation, an experimental therapy that involves delivering electrical current to specific parts of the brain, could prove useful in improving social cognition in patients with schizophrenia, suggests a preliminary study... (06/02/2015)

To amputate or not: VA, DoD to study long-term effect of vascular injury in wounded Vets

Advances in battlefield medicine make it possible for military surgeons to save limbs that otherwise might have required amputation, due to severe vascular damage. But little is known about the long-term outlook for these Veterans. A new study by VA and Defense researchers aims to learn more... (05/21/2015)

Research: Daily aspirin could block growth of breast, other cancers

A new VA lab study found that a daily dose of aspirin was effective at blocking breast tumor growth. Previous studies have already shown a similar effect on colon, gastrointestinal, prostate, and other cancers... (05/21/2015)

Fecal transplants are good medicine for stubborn infections, review finds

Notwithstanding the "yuck" factor, VA researchers who reviewed the literature on fecal transplants confirmed that the procedure—versions of which have been around since ancient times—is safe and effective for recurring C. difficile infections... (05/13/2015)

VA exploring new ways to meet care needs of American Indian Veterans

VA researchers have been studying how VA's expansion of home-based primary care has improved access to health care for American Indian Veterans living on rural reservations... (05/13/2015)

Cognitive behavioral therapy as effective as light therapy for seasonal affective disorder

People with winter seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, could benefit as much from cognitive behavioral therapy as they do from light therapy, the current gold-standard for treatment, according to new research... (05/13/2015)

Self-harm, suicide ideation tightly linked in Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans

Non-suicidal self-injury—that is, purposefully hurting oneself without conscious suicidal intent—is relatively common among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, and it is a strong risk factor for suicidal behavior, according to VA research... (05/07/2015)

Strong statin-diabetes link seen in large study of Tricare patients

In a VA database study of nearly 26,000 beneficiaries of Tricare, the military health system, those taking statin drugs to control their cholesterol were 87 percent more likely to develop diabetes... (05/07/2015)

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: Has the worry outpaced the science?

The authors of a review article on chronic traumatic encephalopathy—often viewed, nowadays, as a long-term effect of repeated mild traumatic brain injury—take issue with some of the science on the topic to date, and assert that the outlook for most people with TBI is brighter than what some have come to believe... (05/07/2015)

Study finds no health drawbacks to Veterans' dual use of VA, Medicare Advantage

In a study that looked at a handful of quality measures for chronic disease care, Veterans who used both VA care and a Medicare Advantage plan during 2008 or 2009 did no better or worse than those who relied strictly on VA... (04/27/2015)

Studies yield mixed findings on high-dose flu vaccine for elders

Is the high-dose version of the flu vaccine more effective than the standard dose for older folks? A new VA study says yes, but only for the "oldest old": those 85 or older... (04/27/2015)

Alzheimer's home-safety project focuses on prevention

A research team with VA and Boston University first identified the home modifications that worked best to keep people with Alzheimer's disease safe, and to ease the burden on their caregivers. Now, they are working with VA primary care providers and others to implement the findings... (04/23/2015)

Study: A minority of women seek health care after military sexual assault

Most female service members who experience sexual assault are unlikely to seek post-assault health care, at least in the short term, suggests a new VA study... (04/23/2015)

VA research explores variability in PTSD rates seen in studies of Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans

A meta-analysis on PTSD prevalence among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan suggests that, on average, 23 percent of these Veterans have been diagnosed with the condition. The figure is based on combined data from 33 studies, most of which used VA health care statistics... (04/16/2015)

No Preventable Harms campaign aims for 'world's safest health care system'

New practices in how urinary catheters are used, and special catheters coated with antibacterial silver, could combine to help dramatically lower the rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections, a major problem for hospitals nationwide... (04/16/2015)

For some, hand gestures could be key to unlocking memories

In experiments involving people with Parkinson's disease and a puzzle called the Tower of Hanoi, researchers in Iowa have revealed new clues about the role of hand gestures in memory and learning.... (04/16/2015)

VA, international team draft new colon care guidelines

VA researchers were part of an international group that has forged new guidelines on how to find and remove precancerous cells in the colon before cancer can develop. ... (04/02/2015)

Study explores use of telehealth for MS patients

VA researchers are using telehealth technology to help Veterans with multiple sclerosis get the most out of their exercise regimens.... (04/02/2015)

Coronary heart disease among Veterans: How do men and women differ?

In a study that used data on nearly 86,000 Veterans, women who underwent cardiac catheterization in VA tended to be younger and more obese, and were more likely to have PTSD or depression, than their male counterparts... (03/31/2015)

Shining a light on bacteria: Pulsed xenon ultraviolet light system just as effective as manual disinfection

In just over 10 minutes, a pulsed xenon ultraviolet light system can disinfect a hospital room every bit as good as a human can, according to a study at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System... (03/31/2015)

Study adds evidence on link between PTSD, heart disease

In a study of more than 8,000 Veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, those with PTSD were more likely to develop heart failure over about a seven-year follow-up period... (03/31/2015)

Can light therapy help the brain?

An innovative therapy that applies red and near-infrared light to the brain is now being tested at the Boston VA for Gulf War Illness, TBI, and PTSD... (03/31/2015)

Addressing unhealthy alcohol use among Veterans: Hospital stay may be window of opportunity

No one looks forward to a hospital stay. But for some Veterans, the event could be the right moment to begin thinking about making healthy lifestyle changes—such as cutting back on risky drinking... (03/24/2015)

VA restarting study on service dogs and PTSD

Man's best friend is being put to the test for Veterans with PTSD. The study will involve 230 Veterans in three regions.... (03/24/2015)

Sexual dysfunction a common problem in Veterans with PTSD

A new review study confirms PTSD as a risk factor for sexual problems, among both male and female Veterans... (03/24/2015)

Bureaucracy, not trauma exposure, is cause of most mental health provider burnout in VA

The most robust predictor of mental health provider burnout, suggests a series of VA studies, is perceptions of organizational politics and bureaucracy, along with overall workload... (03/24/2015)

VA study finds drop in testosterone prescriptions, despite upward trend in diagnoses

Testosterone therapy rates are on the rise worldwide. VA may be bucking the trend, however, suggests research by a team with the University of Washington and VA's Pacific Northwest region... (03/19/2015)

Study: Better preparation, planning could improve effectiveness of VA peer specialists

VA is probably the largest single employer of mental health peer specialists in the world. New research suggests ways to improve the experience for peers and patients, and the VA staff they work with... (03/19/2015)

Here's the story: Studies bank on power of personal narratives to inform research, improve care

Journalists and marketers have long used people's personal stories to get their point across. Now, health researchers are tapping into the same power. Two new VA studies exemplify the trend.... (03/19/2015)

Small RNA molecules in blood may help in diagnosing common war injuries

Teasing out the respective effects of traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder and making clear diagnoses is challenging. Research at the Bronx VA and other sites suggests that certain RNA molecules, measurable in the blood, could help... (03/10/2015)

Study aims to curb ER use among high-risk patients

A study based at the Durham VA Medical Center aims to curb over-reliance on emergency room care. Nurses will work to transition repeat ER users to a more regular routine of primary care... (03/10/2015)

With new initiatives, VA aims to turn the corner on escalating opioid use

An analysis of data from 2004 to 2012 found worrisome increases in opioid use in VA—as in U.S. medical care at large. But a wave of new initiatives, driven by research, is helping VA reverse the trend... (02/26/2015)

Troubling trio—depression, PTSD, mild traumatic brain injury—linked to extra-high disability risk

Depression, PTSD, and mild traumatic brain injury: The combination occurs commonly among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans and puts them at substantial risk for long-term disability, says a new study... (02/25/2015)

Is it time to change the way we think about cancer?
One researcher's vision: targeting tumors with multipronged treatment

Whereas many researchers are working on "smart bomb" drugs that target cancer cells and leave healthy cells intact, Dr. Raj Batra believes an array of such bombs—akin to a cluster bomb—is what's needed... (02/19/2015)

The scent of war: VA studies a legacy of dust, smoke, and burn pits and what it means for Veterans

A VA research team reviewed and summarized the results of 19 unique studies of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to look for trends in their respiratory health... (02/18/2015)

Study ties radiation therapy for testicular cancer to stomach cancer risk years later

An international team that included VA researchers found a link between radiation therapy for testicular cancer and increased risk of stomach cancer years later... (02/12/2015)

Drug-eluting stents safe for use in vein grafts, VA study finds

Drug-eluting stents have been steadily overtaking bare-metal stents as the medical device of choice to help fix blocked arteries. A new study based on nearly 2,500 procedures in VA adds evidence to support their safety... (02/12/2015)

The psychological impact of physical battle scars

Veterans with negative body image as a result of injuries sustained in combat are more likely to be depressed and could be at higher risk for other mental illnesses, according to a new VA study... (02/12/2015)

Group therapy shows promise for suicidal Veterans

VA researchers in Kentucky saw promising results in a study of group therapy for suicide prevention... (02/04/2015)

Depression can affect feelings of chest pain in heart patients, study finds

The link between depression and heart disease is complex, and may work in two directions, with each condition driving the other. One recent VA study suggests that depression leads to increased perceptions of chest pain, regardless of the extent of the actual underlying heart disease.... (02/04/2015)

Study backs telehealth for PTSD care

A VA study based in Louisiana, Arkansas, and California attests to the value of telemedicine and collaborative care in treating rural Veterans with PTSD... (02/04/2015)

From fourth-century soup to 21st-century procedure, fecal transplantation proves its worth against stubborn bacteria

Fecal transplants aren't a new idea—they've been used by traditional healers for centuries. But modern medicine is now revisiting the concept as an effective way to deal with dangerous C. difficile infections... (01/28/2015)

VA study on chiropractic for back pain yields mixed results: Disability improves, but pain relief same as with placebo

In a VA chiropractic study that involved 136 older Veterans with chronic low back pain, the treatment improved disability but did no better than placebo at relieving pain... (01/21/2015)

DoD, VA research again finds hyperbaric oxygen ineffective at treating concussion-related injuries

The latest Department of Defense and VA study on hyperbaric oxygen therapy for mild TBI has shown no evidence of benefit. The results are consistent with those from earlier DoD-VA trials... (01/21/2015)

Some top-selling eye vitamins don't match scientific evidence, says study

A research team with VA, Yale, and other institutions found that the ingredients in some top-selling eye vitamins don't match what's been shown effective in clinical trials... (01/21/2015)

'Love hormone' may have role in schizophrenia therapy

According to a group with VA and UCLA, oxytocin—produced in the brain and sometimes called the "love hormone"—may play a key role in improving the ability of people with schizophrenia to understand others' emotions... (01/14/2015)

Study on VA epilepsy centers shows improvements in access, quality of care

Preliminary results from a four-year study of VA's 16 Epilepsy Centers of Excellence (ECOEs) show improvements in Veterans' access to high-quality epilepsy care... (01/14/2015)

When it comes to HIV therapy, the earlier the better

A study of HIV-infected service members and their beneficiaries found that those who received antiretroviral therapy soon after infection—within a year—were half as likely to develop AIDS... (01/07/2015)

Group care, self-monitoring among approaches responsible for better blood pressure control in VA

Group care, home telehealth, and other innovative approaches are behind sharp improvements in blood pressure control rates among VA patients, according to a new analysis by a VA researcher... (01/07/2015)

Ads boosted suicide hotline calls

A public information campaign on suicide prevention succeeded in increasing the number of calls to a suicide prevention hotline, according to a VA study... (12/31/2014)

Study: Rapid HIV testing in shelters is affordable, effective way to reach homeless Veterans

VA researchers in Los Angeles offered rapid HIV testing program in homeless shelters, in partnership with local officials. The goal was to create a pipeline between homeless shelters and VA care for Veterans who are homeless and HIV-positive... (12/31/2014)

Gene variation linked to tanning addiction, higher risk of skin damage

Yale and VA researchers have pinpointed a gene they say may play a role in addiction to tanning, which raises the risk of skin cancer and other health problems. The study is the first to look at the genetics of tanning addiction... (12/31/2014)

In Iowa VA lab study, fish oil eases diabetic neuropathy

For Veterans and others with diabetes, neuropathy can be one of the most serious complications. Can fish oil or other omega-3 fatty acid supplements help? A new VA study suggests the answer is yes... (12/17/2014)

Index of foot health, developed in VA, has legs worldwide

A brief user-friendly measure of foot health and function, developed by a VA research team in the 1980s, has caught on worldwide among clinicians and researchers. It's been translated into 20 languages, Danish being the latest addition... (12/17/2014)

Could exercise bring some muscle to the fight against Alzheimer's?

Through an NIH Director's Transformative Research Award, a team of VA and Stanford investigators aims to find out what exactly it is about exercise that benefits the brain... (12/17/2014)

New tool can predict start of flu season

VA researchers and colleagues have developed a statistical tool that hospitals can use to determine the earliest stages of flu season. The tool can help avoid extra costs and target control efforts when and where they're needed most... (12/08/2014)

New device helps halt hearing loss for cancer patients

Some chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin, can be toxic to cells in the ear, resulting in permanent hearing loss. A new device from Portland VA researchers catches the problem early on, so therapy can be adjusted... (12/08/2014)

Study highlights risks of putting off PTSD care

A study of OEF-OIF Veterans with PTSD found that those who came in sooner for care after their return home were more likely to respond positively to treatment than those who put off getting care... (12/08/2014)

Hormone sensitivity could increase high blood pressure risks for blacks

A study of more than 500 black and white children, 221 of whom completed additional tests after reaching adulthood, two decades later, has provided insights into why blacks tend to have higher rates of hypertension... (12/01/2014)

Rust on the bone: Can excess iron lead to premature death?

For years, Dartmouth professor and recently retired VA researcher Dr. Leo Zacharski has been studying—and sounding the warning bells about—excess iron in the diet... (12/01/2014)

VA rheumatoid arthritis trial earns Howley Prize

The National Arthritis Foundation awarded its prestigious Howley Prize to the VA-led team that published a study last year titled "Therapies for Active Rheumatoid Arthritis after Methotrexate Failure" in the New England Journal of Medicine... (12/01/2014)

Audiology pioneer, now retired, looks back at 42-year VA research career

Dr. Richard Wilson recently retired from VA after more than four decades leading groundbreaking work in hearing science. Hearing loss is the top service-connected disability in the VA system. Wilson's work, applied today in clinics throughout VA and beyond, has improved assessment and care for a multitude of Veterans and other patients... (11/18/2014)

Algorithm-based interview helps standardize diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury

Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be difficult to diagnose. A team with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center has validated a new tool they say can help make the process more reliable and accurate... (11/18/2014)

Deployments and risky driving

In a study of Ohio guardsmen, prior deployment was associated with increased rates of drinking and driving, passing on the right, running red lights, and ignoring seatbelts. In related research, VA investigators are using simulators to probe how PTSD and other conditions affect driving abilities and patterns... (11/18/2014)

Boning up: Lab tests show promise for bone-regenerating injection

Researchers at the Atlanta VA Medical Center are doing mouse experiments on a drug that, unlike most osteoporosis treatments, helps form new bone, rather than just slow bone loss... (11/13/2014)

Study: Social support holds little sway in PTSD treatment-seeking

It seems logical that people with PTSD who have strong social support would be more likely to seek out treatment. New research suggests that might not be the case... (10/29/2014)

Gene that regulates blood pressure tied to cognitive decline

According to a Tennessee team of researchers, variants in a gene that helps regulate blood pressure appear to affect the size of the hippocampus—a brain area crucial for memory... (10/29/2014)

Fear of malpractice claims not a reason to screen for esophageal cancer

Gastroenterologists often order a test to screen for esophageal cancer even when a patient is at low risk, out of fear of a lawsuit for missing a cancer. But a new VA study shows the fear is unwarranted... (10/29/2014)

Focus on care for transgender Veterans results in greater access

A study shows that between 2006 and 2013, VA served some 2,600 transgender Veterans, and the numbers have been rising. The trend is credited partly to a VA policy that took effect in 2011... (10/23/2014)

Helping those with vision loss find their way

Researchers and engineers at VA’s Atlanta-based Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation are working on new technology to help people with vision loss get around independently... (10/21/2014)

Change in cell traffic pattern could signal chemotherapy response

In a study of 49 Veterans with advanced lung cancer, researchers with VA and Emory University pinpointed a gene variant that predicted the effectiveness of chemotherapy... (10/14/2014)

The opioid crisis: Researchers testing new solutions

In any given year about a third of Veterans in VA care are prescribed an opioid for pain. VA researchers are working to minimize the risks, and identify alternative ways to manage the pain... (10/08/2014)

Study: Depression, anxiety rates roughly equal among older Vets, non-Vets

Contrary to what the researchers expected, a study of nearly 7,000 men aged 50 or older found that Veterans were no more likely than non-Veterans to have depression or anxiety... (10/08/2014)

Mobile phones offer hope for reaching homeless Veterans

A VA study of homeless Veterans found that nearly all owned a mobile phone and were interested in receiving calls or texts about appointments and other health matters... (10/01/2014)

Diabetes wound care: Much progress in past 25 years, but challenges remain

Diabetes and vascular disease can lead to serious foot ulcers that sometimes require amputation. A longtime VA clinician-researcher looks back at a 1989 study she did on the problem and talks about how the field has advanced... (10/01/2014)

Chemo without the side effects: Scientists look to gold, toad skin for answers

Tiny gold nanocages and a chemical originally found in the European fire-bellied toad are helping researchers advance toward targeted chemotherapy—treatment that kills cancer cells but not healthy tissue... (09/25/2014)

Can lithium help stem suicide rate? VA study aims to find out

Some studies have suggested that lithium, used widely to treat bipolar disorder, may help prevent suicide. A new trial, expected to involve more than 1,800 Veterans at 28 VA sites, will test the theory... (09/17/2014)

Study: More pain relief with new knee replacement method

A team at the Phoenix VA published promising findings from a clinical trial of a newer method for knee replacement surgery, called kinematic alignment... (09/17/2014)

A walk a day may keep the Parkinson's symptoms away

In a study by VA researchers and colleagues, patients who walked briskly for 45 minutes, three times a week, showed improvements in their Parkinson's symptoms. They were also less depressed and less tired. ... (09/17/2014)

Unit cohesion could be key to PTSD resiliency

A VA study of nearly 800 National Guard and Reserve troops found that soldiers reporting more unit cohesion tended to be more resilient to mental health problems, including PTSD... (09/12/2014)

The difficulty with C. difficile

A study at the Boise VA Medical Center provides new insight into a virulent newer strain of C. difficile, showing how it kicks out more toxins when confronted with a commonly used antibiotic... (08/26/2014)

Former POWs at higher risk for dementia

More than a decade ago, a VA report on former POWs found they had increased rates of numerous health problems. Now, a new VA study has found an increased risk of dementia, especially among those who also have PTSD... (08/26/2014)

Study: Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans at increased risk of respiratory illness

Researchers examined data on more than 768,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans and identified increases between 2002 and 2011 in asthma, bronchitis, chronic wheezing and coughing, and other respiratory problems... (08/26/2014)

What the heart can tell us about the mind: Heart rate variability and PTSD

Researchers with the Marine Resiliency Study tested heart rate variability in four battalions of Marines, to see what they could learn about the link between this physiological measure and mental health... (08/26/2014)

Mobility during hospital stays helps Veterans

For older patients and those battling chronic illnesses, long-term hospital stays can often lead to further declines in health. Getting patients out of bed and moving around more can help.... (08/26/2014)

Experimental drug packs double whammy against Alzheimer's

An experimental drug being tested in lab studies at the Bronx VA not only blocks plaque-forming amyloid, but also spurs new brain cells. The researchers plan to test it for TBI, also.... (08/21/2014)

Brief alcohol interventions may decrease problem drinking in Veterans

In a study that involved 68 combat Veterans, researchers at the Memphis VA showed the benefits of two brief interventions to help lessen problem drinking... (08/20/2014)

VA study finds childhood poverty could have lifelong effect on brain

In a VA study of 52 young adults, those who had been poor in childhood were found to have reduced connectivity in the brain... (08/20/2014)

Robotic exoskeleton, now FDA-approved, continues to be studied at Bronx VA

The ReWalk, an Israeli-made robotic exoskeleton that helps people with spinal cord injury to walk again, is now approved by the FDA. A research team at the Bronx VA has been teaching Veterans to use the device and studying its impact on quality of life... (08/15/2014)

Partnership key to caring for women Veterans

More than 100 providers, researchers, and policymakers attended the 2014 VA Women Veterans' Health Services Research Conference. The theme was partnership ... (08/13/2014)

Review study backs nurses' role in managing chronic disease

VA researchers reviewed and analyzed the combined data from 18 past trials and found that when nurses take on more advanced roles in chronic disease care, patients benefit... (08/06/2014)

Traumatic brain injuries linked to dementia in older Vets

A VA study of more than 188,000 older Veterans with and without a history of traumatic brain injury found a 60 percent greater risk of dementia among those with a past TBI... (08/06/2014)

International study involving VA yields new insight on schizophrenia genes

Schizophrenia is a debilitating brain disease that affects 1 in 100 people worldwide, and around 100,000 VA patients. An international team of scientists—including a group at the Washington, DC, VAMC—has discovered new genetic clues that might one day lead to new treatments.... (07/30/2014)

'Polytrauma triad' linked to suicidal behavior, but main driver is PTSD

Pain, TBI, PTSD—the three conditions that make up what VA experts call the "polytrauma clinical triad" have each been linked in studies to increased suicide risk. When they are combined, is the risk that much higher?... (07/30/2014)

At the forefront of rehab medicine: VA, DoD experts share latest technology, approaches for limb loss

A three-day federal symposium brought together some of the country's leading experts on limb injuries, amputations, and prosthetics. The event offered a glimpse into the future of treating traumatic limb loss... (07/23/2014)

Are green tomatoes the next super food? Study shows benefits in treating muscle atrophy, decreasing fat

According to research from VA and University of Iowa, a compound in green tomatoes may help prevent muscle atrophy and decrease fat... (07/22/2014)

Overview study: Group therapy helps insomnia

A meta-analysis of eight previous studies found group therapy to be a powerful tool to treat insomnia. ... (07/22/2014)

What goes awry in the suicidal brain? Studies zero in on faulty protein

A research team at the Bronx VA has homed in on a molecular change in the brain—involving a process called RNA editing, and a non-responsive serotonin receptor—that they say is a hallmark of those who commit suicide... (07/22/2014)

Studies: Fears of reprisal, process hamper reporting of military sexual assault

The Department of Defense has invested heavily in encouraging service members to report sexual assault. Two VA studies looked at the experiences of women who reported such assaults—or chose not to. ... (07/18/2014)

Twelve million patients misdiagnosed yearly in America, says VA researcher

A recent VA study, part of a wider effort to better understand and to reduce or eliminate diagnostic errors, estimated that 12 million such errors occur yearly in the U.S. ... (07/18/2014)

New lab is leap forward for personalized medicine

Using robotics and other high-end technology, a new VA lab in Columbia, S.C., will look for "protein signatures" in blood samples to help personalize medical care for Veterans... (07/08/2014)

$10 million in damages from N.Y. charity fraud case earmarked for VA research

In a case officials said involved the “largest amount of financial relief ever obtained … for deceptive charitable fundraising," the N.Y. attorney general ordered two firms to pay $10 million in damages to help support Veterans. The funds will go to help support VA research... (07/08/2014)

When to turn it off and tune it out: Current Iraq coverage can increase anxiety, mental health issues among Veterans

Watching the latest news from war-torn Iraq—or coverage of other violence—can worsen symptoms in Veterans with PTSD ... (07/02/2014)

Can 'young blood' rejuvenate the brain of those with Alzheimer's?

It started with a Cornell researcher in the 1950s. Now, VA and university researchers have made new strides in showing how an injection of young blood—literally—can halt the effects of aging... (07/02/2014)

Amino acids might provide glimpse into suicide risk

In a recent study of 90 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, those who reported being suicidal also showed abnormal patterns of certain amino acids. Researchers are studying the connection... (06/24/2014)

Are computers a third wheel in the exam room? VA research looks at clinicians' use of electronic health records

VA is redesigning its pioneering electronic medical record. As part of the process, researchers are gathering input from end users: clinicians who use the technology every day with patients... (06/24/2014)

Heavy marijuana use tied to lung diseases but not cancer

VA researchers reviewed the latest research available on marijuana use and lung health. Among the conclusions: The drug can cause respiratory problems but there's little evidence linking it to more severe diseases ... (06/17/2014)

Understanding the racial gap with popular blood thinner

Black patients on the blood thinning medication warfarin have poorer outcomes than whites. VA researchers are working to understand the reasons for the disparity... (06/17/2014)

Cardiologist says small tweak to stent technique can up success rate

Dr. Barry Uretsky, a VA cardiologist in Little Rock, hasn't built a better mousetrap, but he has discovered what he thinks is a better way to implant a coronary stent... (06/09/2014)

Male breast cancer: A rare disease, on the rise

Male breast cancer, though still rare— accounting for less than 1 percent of all cancers in men, and less than 1 percent of all breast cancer—is on the rise, and VA researchers are helping to understand the phenomenon... (06/09/2014)

Phone visits seen as plus in new primary care model—with some caveats

VA primary care clinics recently moved to a new model called Patient Aligned Care Teams, or PACT. The model features team-based care, with a greater role for non-physician providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants... (06/09/2014)

A win for the little guy: Study finds shorter men live longer

Shorter men are more likely to live longer than their towering counterparts. That's the consensus researchers came to following a more than 40-year study of some 8,000 American men of Japanese ancestry... (05/29/2014)

Common peptide may hold key to who gets PTSD, who doesn't

Significantly lower levels of a neurohormone were associated with posttraumatic stress disorder among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, a recent VA study found... (05/29/2014)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation could offer fast relief for suicidal patients

High doses of magnetic stimulation to the part of the brain controlling emotion effectively cut suicidal thoughts in half after only one day, according to a VA study reported in the May 2014 issue of Brain Stimulation... (05/29/2014)

Anthropologists provide unique perspective for VA studies

In popular culture, anthropologists work exclusively in exotic locales, studying coming-of-age rituals among primitive tribes in Samoa, Papua New Guinea, or someplace hidden deep within the Amazon. And yet the 2012 Margaret Mead award, named after one of the most famous of anthropologists, went not to an Indiana Jones-style adventurer, but to Dr. Erin Finley, a VA health research scientist at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, for her book on Veterans' experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan... (05/22/2014)

Nicotine byproduct shows promise in treating depression, memory loss

Even as the medical marijuana debate rages in the media, researchers at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center and the University of South Florida have quietly discovered potential benefits hidden in another product generally considered harmful—nicotine... (05/22/2014)

High heels a snap with new prosthetic foot

Whether we're heading to the gym or to a job interview, most of us take for granted the ability to match our shoes to the occasion. It just comes naturally, thanks in large part to the ankle-foot system's ability to adjust automatically to a variety of shapes and angles... (05/19/2014)

Study: 9 in 10 users happy with PTSD Coach smartphone app

It's been downloaded more than 150,000 times by people in more than 80 countries. It's received high ratings from both iPhone and Android users. It's even won two big awards... (05/19/2014)

Tracking eye movements may help in diagnosis of otherwise invisible TBI

What do a music video by Colombian pop star Shakira and a 3,500-year-old Egyptian medical scroll have in common? They both relate to Dr. Uzma Samadani's research on something called dysconjugate gaze... (05/19/2014)

DEKA advanced prosthetic arm gains FDA approval

A futuristic prosthetic arm funded by the military, developed by a private company, and rigorously tested in a four-year VA study has now been approved for the commercial market by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration... (05/16/2014)

Education boosts outcomes in end-stage renal disease

It's a silent problem. According to the National Kidney Foundation, nearly 26 million Americans are estimated to have chronic kidney disease, yet many don't even know it. The signs are easy to miss... (05/16/2014)

On the road to Housing First for homeless Veterans

Sometimes caught in a destructive cycle of mental illness and substance abuse, at other times set back by money trouble or sheer bad luck across the board, many of America's 62,000 or so homeless Veterans struggle to get off the streets... (05/15/2014)

Fluoride initiative takes bite out of cavity rate

It's no news that appropriate use of fluoride prevents cavities. What is news is that 8 in 10 VA dental clinics are now meeting a high standard for ensuring that those Veterans at highest risk for tooth decay are getting preventive fluoride treatment... (05/15/2014)

Researcher: Crowdsourcing could improve care, save money

Everyone agrees that Veterans should have a say in the care they receive, but one VA researcher is taking it a step farther... (05/15/2014)

A change in anti-clotting drugs could influence bleeding, death rates

Patients with a common type of heart rhythm disorder who switch their anticoagulant medication may have a higher risk of bleeding, say VA researchers... (05/06/2014)

New injection shows promise in preventing heart failure

An experimental new gel, injected directly into the heart in the days and weeks following a heart attack, has shown promise in staving off heart failure... (05/06/2014)

A look ahead to the future of rehabilitation

During 2014, VA's Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development is celebrating a half-century of publishing. To mark the milestone, JRRD is running a series of guest editorials that look back to the early years of rehabilitation research... (04/30/2014)

The Mediterranean diet: A look back at one VA group's contribution

May is National Mediterranean Diet Month, a time to focus attention on a way of eating that has consistently been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic ailments. VA researcher Dr. Scott Grundy is among many in VA who have studied the topic ... (04/28/2014)

Study explores reasons why Veterans seek—or don't seek—PTSD care

It should come as no surprise that based on a recent VA study, Veterans who felt they needed treatment for posttraumatic stress were more likely to seek out, and eventually receive, care. But why some Veterans feel they need care, and what motivates them to seek out help in the first place, is less obvious... (04/24/2014)

VA-DoD guidebook aims to spur collaborative research

The 2013 edition of the VA/DoD Collaboration Guidebook for Healthcare Research is available on the VA Research website. The book, first introduced in 2011, is designed to spur more collaboration between VA and the Department of Defense in the area of health research... (04/24/2014)

Seeking new coping tools for Veterans with TBI

One of the most effective ways to manage a mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, is using a smartphone calendar app, say VA researchers... (04/14/2014)

Study ties combat deployments, not just PTSD, to heart disease

Even as the medical community studies the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and heart disease, a new VA-Department of Defense study adds evidence that the issue might run deeper than just PTSD... (04/14/2014)

DNA test performs well for colorectal cancer screening

An experimental test that looks for blood and DNA mutations in stool is highly accurate for detecting colorectal cancer, says a new study. The results appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 19... (04/01/2014)

VA study shows women Veterans using maternity benefits at increasing rate

Call it a new baby boom. Today's Veterans are more likely to be women than at any other time in U.S. history. They're young, driven, and apparently deciding to start families, to the tune of more than 10,000 infants in five years... (04/01/2014)

Researchers building roadmap of OEF/OIF injuries

For Dr. Mary Jo Pugh, a research scientist at the South Texas Veterans Healthcare System and a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, the study of complex comorbidity clusters is personal. Pugh suffered a head injury while serving in the Air Force, and her husband is a Veteran of the Iraq war... (03/27/2014)

VA study leads to improved end-of-life care

Dr. Amos Bailey knows something about death. As an oncologist, he began referring patients to home hospice shortly after it became widely available in the late 1980s. The experience changed his outlook on care for the dying... (03/26/2014)

Lab study: Exercise wards off retinal damage

Exercising on a treadmill may prevent blindness—at least in mice. That's the upshot of a lab study by vision researchers at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and Emory University.... (03/26/2014)

Poor sleep tied to reduced brain volume in Gulf War study

In a study of 144 Gulf War Veterans, those with the poorest sleep scores showed lower brain volume on MRI scans... (03/24/2014)

Landmark MVP study hits quarter-million enrollment mark

VA's Million Veteran Program (MVP) enrolled its 250,000th volunteer research participant in early March... (03/24/2014)

Pain reduction, via positive psychology and the Web

Visitors to a positive psychology website who were given simple activities to do over six weeks—such as writing about three "good things" each day in a journal—reported less physical pain for up to six months after the study... (03/24/2014)

JRRD hits half-century mark

When VA's Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (JRRD) put out its first issue, the Beatles were all the rage, and the U.S. Surgeon General announced for the first time that smoking could be bad for one's health ... (03/24/2014)

Exposure to jet fuel, not just noise, contributes to hearing problems

Those who work around jet fuel—or other hydrocarbon fuels—may be at higher risk for problems with how the brain interprets incoming sound, suggests research at the Loma Linda VA... (03/20/2014)

Skype therapy works for low-income, homebound elderly

VA and university researchers found the popular video calling tool Skype to be an effective way to deliver psychotherapy to homebound older adults with depression... (03/20/2014)

Brain's 'error messages' may hold key to PTSD resiliency

To err is human. Every day people forget to lock their door, pay a bill, or yield at a stop light. Like it or not, mistakes are part of life. Now VA researchers are looking at how Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder react to their own mistakes... (03/20/2014)

VA implementing rural outreach program in Alabama following successful research

Compared to their urban counterparts, rural Veterans report lower quality of life, lower physical and mental health, and higher rates of comorbidities... (03/12/2014)

For those with disabilities, healthier weight may be only a phone call away

It seems simple: Exercise harder. Eat better. Lose those extra few pounds. But what are the options for a person who can't stand, let alone crank out pushups or run... (03/12/2014)

Bringing families into the fold: VA study shows multifamily group treatment valuable for TBI patients, spouses

For Veterans suffering from mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, adjusting to life back home can be difficult—not just for themselves, but for their families as well... (03/12/2014)

Peer specialists held in high regard by Veterans, study shows

Recovery from mental illness is often possible. That's the goal of VA's peer specialist mental health program... (03/12/2014)

E-health records lead to better patient-doctor communication, study finds

Veterans with online access to their health records reported better communication with their doctors and higher levels of overall satisfaction with their care, according to a VA-sponsored study... (03/12/2014)

Televised weight loss program pays off big for Veterans

Is it possible to lose weight by watching TV? The answer is yes, when the "TV show" is a special program designed to help people lose weight and keep it off... (03/12/2014)

Women Veterans with better military social support report better physical health, regardless of PTSD status

Maintaining the social support of military peers after active duty is associated with better physical health among women Veterans, regardless of whether they have posttraumatic stress disorder, says a study by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care Center... (03/11/2014)

VA study looks to Internet to help smokers quit

There isn't much the Internet can't help people do, from tracking finances, to finding a date, to fixing a leaky faucet. But can it help smokers to quit? That's the focus of a four-year study at the Durham VA Medical Center... (03/11/2014)

VA enrolling participants for groundbreaking diabetes study

A landmark trial to determine the long-term effectiveness of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes will involve nine VA centers, along with 37 other clinical sites... (03/05/2014)

Heart-mind mystery: Unraveling the complex link between PTSD and heart disease

Science is catching up with what many war Veterans have long sensed: Emotional trauma isn't about only the mind. It also affects the body—especially the heart... (02/28/2014)

Children of deployed parents at increased risk for behavioral, psychological problems

Children with a deployed parent may be at an increased risk for behavioral problems, maltreatment, and substance abuse, according to a review of the literature performed by researchers at the Providence VA Medical Center and Bradley/Hasbro Children's Research Center... (02/26/2014)

VA developing cutting-edge tools in fight against smoking

Veterans smoke cigarettes at higher rates than their civilian counterparts, a sobering thought given that some 21 percent of the general population regularly smokes... (02/26/2014)

A text message a day helps keep heart disease at bay

Taking medications after a heart attack is key to a full recovery, but for some patients that's easier said than done. Doctors have long struggled to ensure patients not only remember to take their medicine, but do so correctly... (02/19/2014)

Outdoor activities improve mental health in Veterans, study finds

Taking part in outdoor group activities, like camping, hiking, or snowboarding, could prove beneficial for Veterans with mental health problems ... (02/19/2014)

Researcher presses for more effective treatment for common GI bug

Lots of people are walking around with H. pylori in their stomachs—about 6 in 10 people worldwide. In the U.S., prevalence varies by age and other demographics, from about 20 to 60 percent... (02/12/2014)

In Iowa City VA study, proximity to swine linked to higher MRSA rates

Veterans who live on or near large hog farms might want to spend a little more time washing their hands, suggests a new VA study... (02/12/2014)

Lab study: Microdevice restores function in damaged brains

University and VA researchers in the Midwest have developed a way to bridge disrupted areas of the brain with a neural prosthesis.... (02/12/2014)

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