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VA Research Currents
 

Recent News

VA pharmacist donates blood plasma as part of efforts to find treatment for COVID-19

Dr. Parisa Khan, a VA pharmacist and recovered COVID-19 patient, donated her convalescent plasma so it could be used as an investigational treatment for another patient struggling with the illness, as part of a nationwide program.... (06/02/2020)

Study points to race-based difference in prostate cancer progression

In a VA study, African American men whose biopsies showed low-risk cancer were more likely to have a higher grade or stage of cancer when they were later treated surgically, compared with white patients with similar histories.... (06/02/2020)

VA physician invents device to expand patient access to ventilators

A VA physician and his colleagues invented a device that allows doctors to customize air pressure settings for two patients using a single ventilator.... (06/02/2020)

VA scientists race to determine effectiveness of prostate cancer drug in treating COVID-19 patients

Nearly 200 Veterans are expected to take part in a study on the drug degarelix for treating male Veterans with the disease.... (05/22/2020)

Adaptive rock climbing has physical, psychological benefits for people with disabilities

A new study finds that indoor rock climbing appears to offer a "unique array" of physical, social, and psychological benefits for those with disabilities, including those with amputations, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury.... (05/11/2020)

VA Research works with industry, other partners to launch COVID-19 clinical trials

VA medical centers are involved in a number of clinical trials and other studies focused on COVID-19. VA's research office is also seeking to expand its role in COVID-19 trials. ... (05/07/2020)

'I'm battling an encyclopedia'

VA researchers examined the beliefs and perceptions Veterans with diabetes hold about communicating with their physicians. Some complained their doctors use too much jargon.... (05/07/2020)

Review finds strong evidence on emerging biomarkers for Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Biomarkers—measurable physical signs of a condition—could be a useful way of testing for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new review study by a VA team in Minneapolis.... (04/27/2020)

Exploring precision medicine for insomnia

In an interview with VA Research Currents, Dr. Elaine Boland, a VA research psychologist in Philadelphia, emphasizes the need for people with insomnia to receive treatments tailored to their needs.... (04/23/2020)

Brain organoids: Emerging method to study brain diseases

Brain organoids, made in the lab from cultured cells, are miniature replicas of areas of the human brain. Scientists are using them to model brain diseases.... (04/23/2020)

Can community engagement help Veterans at high risk of suicide?

A VA study aims to boost social connectedness among Veterans at high risk of suicide by getting them more involved in group activities such as music, tai chi, or fishing.... (04/22/2020)

PTSD, moral injury tied to pregnancy complications

Elevated symptoms of PTSD and moral injury can lead to pregnancy complications, found a VA study of women Veterans.... (04/14/2020)

VA, non-VA cardiac rehab provide similar benefits

VA and non-VA cardiac rehabilitation programs offer similar benefits, according to a new VA study, and "eligible patients with ischemic heart disease should participate in cardiac rehabilitation programs regardless of where they are provided," say the researchers.... (04/08/2020)

Environmental service workers are important element in infection control design

A study based at VA community living centers shows that environmental service workers have unique insights into infection control that could improve best practices. ... (04/08/2020)

Government often pays twice for Veterans' blocked-artery treatments

The federal government is losing millions of dollars by paying twice, in many cases, for Veterans' medical procedures, found a study by VA and University of Pennsylvania researchers.... (04/08/2020)

Study of nearly 2 million Veterans confirms links between weight and pain

In a database study of nearly 2 million Veterans with musculoskeletal disorders, heavier patients were more likely to report pain.... (03/31/2020)

VA's TRACTS program seeking breakthroughs on traumatic brain injury

VA Boston-based Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders (TRACTS) has been working to increase understanding of the long-term impact of traumatic brain injury on the physical and mental health of post-9-11 Veterans... (03/31/2020)

Large study of Veterans confirms link between fried food, heart disease

A large study that included data on more than 150,000 volunteers in VA's Million Veteran Program finds that the risk of coronary artery disease—a form of heart disease—rises based on the rate of fried food consumptio... (03/30/2020)

Researchers take new approach to detect, treat eye disease that can lead to blindness

A VA pilot study has shown the benefits of a hand-held device to detect early-stage diabetic retinopathy and a neuroprotective drug to potentially reverse the symptoms.... (03/02/2020)

Amid virus concerns, study offers insight on use of respiratory gear in hospitals

A recent VA study offers insight on the use of respiratory protective gear by health care workers. Why do nurses and other staff sometimes fail to use the equipment when it's required, or vice versa?... (03/02/2020)

Study probes user satisfaction with upper-limb prostheses

A survey of more than 400 Veteran users of upper-limb prostheses found little difference in satisfaction among users of myoelectric, body-powered, and cosmetic devices. Overall rankings fell just shy of "satisfied."... (02/20/2020)

Study suggests a more accurate approach to diabetes diagnosis

Using HbA1c (hemoglobin A1c) levels alone can lead to over- and under-diagnosis of diabetes, says a VA research team. They say oral glucose tests should be used along with HbA1c to ensure a proper diagnosis.... (02/12/2020)

Study: Higher opioid doses fail to lessen pain

Researchers from VA and three universities looked at prescribing data on more than 50,000 VA patients taking opioids and found that increased doses did not improve pain control.... (02/03/2020)

VA seeks to reduce use of popular but much-overused class of drugs

A national VA program is underway to reduce unnecessary use of acid-reducing drugs called proton pump inhibitors, and to disseminate best practices. VA researchers are evaluating the effort.... (02/03/2020)

Research improves tele-eye screening for Veterans

In 2015, VA launched the Technology-based Eye Care Services program, or TECS. The tele-eye screening program now serves 22 sites nationwide, and researchers are helping to ensure optimal effectiveness.... (02/03/2020)

Lab study: E-cigarettes may damage body's ability to fight infection

Electronic cigarettes may weaken the body's ability to fight infection, found a lab study by VA San Diego and University of California San Diego researchers.... (01/15/2020)

VA, DOD embark on new endeavor to study mysteries of traumatic brain injury

"Long-term Impact of Military Relevant Brain Injury Consortium," or LIMBIC, is the world's largest research cohort of Veterans and Service members that is dedicated to the study of mild traumatic brain injury (mild TBI), also known as a concussion.... (01/14/2020)

Spreading innovation across VA health care

VA's Diffusion of Excellence program spreads promising clinical innovations across VA health care. Estimates are that more than 100,000 Veterans have benefitted from innovations that came from VA employees and were spread throughout the VA system.... (01/14/2020)

Million Veteran Program study sheds light on genetic basis of anxiety

In the largest genetic study on anxiety to date, VA researchers found new evidence on the underlying biological causes of the disorder. The study used VA Million Veteran Program data to identify regions on the human genome related to anxiety risk.... (01/07/2020)

Health ranks as top concern for Veterans immediately after military service

In a survey of nearly 10,000 Veterans newly separated from military service, most were satisfied with their work and social well-being, but more than half reported chronic physical health problems, and a third reported chronic mental health conditions.... (01/02/2020)

Study supports long-term benefits of non-drug therapies for pain

A new study finds that non-drug therapies given to service members with chronic pain may reduce the risk of long-term adverse outcomes, such as alcohol and drug disorder and self-induced injuries, including suicide attempts.... (12/10/2019)

Oral diabetes drug linked to lower odds of colon cancer

A new study has linked the widely used oral diabetes drug metformin to lower odds of colorectal cancer. The study involved a large sample of VA patients with diabetes who had a colonoscopy.... (12/10/2019)

Study finds VA better than other systems at rating hospital performance

A recent study examined the accuracy and validity of four different health care rating systems. The researchers found that VA does a better job of measuring hospital performance than other government and private-sector rating systems.... (12/03/2019)

Study finds strong ties between social stress factors and suicidal thoughts, attempts

A new study finds that social stress factors—such as violence, homelessness, unemployment, marital problems, and a lack of access to care—have strong connections among Veterans to suicidal thinking and suicide attempts.... (11/21/2019)

Study raises new warnings about frail surgery patients

A VA study has shown that frail surgery patients may be at higher risk than previously thought, leading the researchers to conclude that "there are no 'low-risk' procedures among frail patients."... (11/13/2019)

Research underscores need for further rehab years after brain injury

A new study shows the need for rehab services for Vets at five years after a brain injury. Many patients, caregivers, and providers mistakenly believe such services are relevant only in the short term.... (11/13/2019)

Study gauges VA providers' views on predictive-analytics tool that assesses patient risk

Researchers explored how VA primary care providers are using the Care Assessment Needs report, a predictive-analytics tool that factors in vital signs, lab results, doctor and pharmacy visits, ER use, and other data to calculate a risk score.... (11/13/2019)

VA, Prostate Cancer Foundation seek solutions for aggressive prostate cancer

A partnership between VA and the Prostate Cancer Foundation is speeding the development of treatments and cures for Veterans with aggressive—or metastatic—prostate cancer through precision oncology.... (11/13/2019)

Study: Combat a possible risk factor for hepatitis B

A new study finds Veteran prevalence of hepatitis B to be greatest among those with traditional risk factors, but also suggests that combat exposure can be a risk factor on its own.... (11/08/2019)

VA rolls out nationwide software system for research oversight and reporting

VA research sites nationwide will now all use the same software for managing the regulatory and administrative aspects of research. The move is expected to lighten the load on staff, improve opportunities for collaboration, and potentially speed Veteran access to clinical trials, among other benefits.... (10/31/2019)

Bariatric surgery may not lead to lower health care costs

Despite helping to bring about improved survival and significant weight loss, bariatric surgery may not lead to lower health care costs in the long term, says a VA study.... (10/30/2019)

Suicide Prevention

"From Science to Practice" translates published research into informative tips that VA suicide prevention coordinators and providers can use to support their patients.... (10/24/2019)

No place like home

VA medical foster homes are a sensible way to deliver 24/7 long-term care for Veterans, says Dr. Cari Levy of the Denver VA Medical Center. Her research has shown cost and mortality benefits, compared with conventional nursing home care.... (10/03/2019)

VA National Precision Oncology Program brings tailored cancer treatment to Veterans

An initial study has shown that VA's National Precision Oncology Program has been effective in delivering personalized cancer care. By sequencing tumor samples, the researchers were able to identify mutations that could be treated with approved therapies, or with experimental therapies in clinical trials, for most patients... (10/03/2019)

Researchers piloting nerve stimulation for amputation pain

VA researchers are testing whether nerve stimulation can help Veterans with post-amputation pain. A small pilot study involving 16 Veterans is now underway.... (09/26/2019)

Past military sexual trauma common in older women Veterans

A history of military sexual trauma is common in older women Veterans, found a VA study focused on women age 55 years and older. Also, women who experienced MST were more likely to report multiple health conditions, especially mental health issues.... (09/26/2019)

Early palliative care for advanced lung cancer increases survival

Early palliative care is associated with better survival in patients with advanced lung cancer, according to a study by VA Portland Health Care System and Oregon Health and Science University researchers.... (09/17/2019)

Abnormal gut bugs tied to worse cognitive performance in Vets with PTSD and cirrhosis

A study involving Veterans with PTSD and cirrhosis of the liver points to an abnormal mix of bacteria in the intestines as a possible driver of poor cognitive performance—and as a potential target for therapy. ... (09/11/2019)

Bronx VA psychiatrist-researcher cited for work in suicide prevention

Veteran Wilfredo Santo was so grateful for Dr. Marianne Goodman's suicide prevention program at the Bronx VA that he arranged to have a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of the physician-researcher.... (09/11/2019)

Gaining insight into Parkinson's

A set of research projects at the Cleveland FES Center is using deep brain stimulation, virtual reality, and other technology to better understand how Parkinson's disease affects walking and balance.... (08/29/2019)

Gut sense

VA Research is planning a series of studies to gain insight into the gastrointestinal and liver problems that beset many Veterans after deployments. The goal is to bring new treatments to bear as soon as possible. ... (08/21/2019)

Review: Biofeedback could help treat a number of conditions

A literature review by VA researchers highlights the usefulness of biofeedback for headache and incontinence treatment, and stroke recovery. There was less evidence for its role in other conditions.... (08/20/2019)

VA-DeepMind partnership reports on technology for early detection of life-threatening kidney condition

Researchers from VA and the artificial intelligence company DeepMind have achieved a promising medical breakthrough, developing a technology that has the potential to predict a life-threatening kidney condition up to two days before it happens.... (08/20/2019)

Gene variants tied to kidney disease have only modest cardiovascular effect in African Americans

In a study of nearly 31,000 African American participants in VA's Million Veteran Program, researchers found that two gene variants tied to kidney disease have only a modest cardiovascular effect.... (08/16/2019)

New VA program helping inventors turn ideas into viable products

The Technology Transfer Assistance Project (TTAP), an initiative of the VA Technology Transfer Program, aims to bring worthy VA discoveries closer to public use by supporting the creation of a working prototype and by consulting on pathways for commercialization.... (08/01/2019)

Study finds decline in antibiotic use for older Veterans with urinary infections—a positive result from stewardship efforts

A new study finds a significant drop in antibiotic use at VA community living centers treating older Veterans with urinary tract infections—a positive sign in efforts to limit the health problems that can result from the improper use of antibiotics.... (08/01/2019)

MVP study identifies genes linked to re-experiencing symptoms in PTSD

A VA Million Veteran Program study has identified multiple locations in the human genome related to the risk of re-experiencing traumatic memories, the most distinctive symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder.... (07/29/2019)

Routine blood tests could predict future diabetes

Researchers from three VA health care systems showed that elevated blood glucose levels detected in routine outpatient tests, though well below diagnostic thresholds, predicted diabetes diagnoses within five years. ... (07/19/2019)

Study finds new genetic markers for peripheral artery disease

VA researchers and colleagues studied the genetic characteristics of 31,300 veterans with peripheral artery disease and identified 19 genetic markers, 18 of which were not previously reported. The study used data from VA's Million Veteran Program.... (07/18/2019)

Study: New brain stimulation technique shows promise in easing PTSD

A new VA study found that a form of brain stimulation that can rapidly improve communication between neurons in the brain helped ease PTSD symptoms. The team is also using virtual reality as part of PTSD therapy... (07/10/2019)


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