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In This Issue

Collaborations Army Sgt. Jesse Rosenfield, a flight medic with Task Force Thunder Brigade, tends to an injured soldier aboard a Blackhawk helicopter in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, in April 2011. VA and DoD experts are teaming up to drive new research on posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, which affect significant numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

VA, DoD join to fund $100 million in new studies on brain injury, posttraumatic stress

Working in partnership, VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) plan to invest more than $100 million in new research to improve diagnosis and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury...

Program highlights John Snyder, a Phoenix-area Veteran who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, took part in a VA Cooperative Studies Program trial that taught him self-care techniques. CSP is piloting a program, NODES, that aims to build a network of dedicated enrollment sites to help ensure top quality for CSP trials

Cooperative Studies Program to pilot new enrollment strategy

CSP conducts VA's large-scale clinical trials, many of which have helped influence medical care in VA and throughout the world. Now, CSP is piloting an initiative to expand Veteran enrollment in its trials and further ensure high quality overall. VA Research Currents spoke with Grant Huang, MPH, PhD, deputy director of CSP, to learn more about the effort...

Key findings Drs. Mark Tuszynski (left) and Ephron Rosenzweig were part of a VA-UCSD team that used a mixture of stem cells and growth factors to achieve significant repair in the severely injured spinal cords of rats

VA-led team reports progress toward healing spinal cord injury

Researchers using stem cells bathed in growth-inducing proteins and grafted onto the injured spinal cords of rats were able to create new cell growth across the injuries and restore some movement to the animals. The findings may be "the most comprehensive demonstration to date" of the ability of newly formed nerve cells to send messages across a completely severed spinal cord...

U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Shantel Morris, left, and Ensign Kirsten Lepp, assigned to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, practice CPR on a mannequin during a cardiac life support course. VA researchers have reported new findings on the link between mental and physical health problems in women Veterans

Study underscores body-mind connection

VA researchers found that PTSD, depression, and other mental health diagnoses correlated with higher rates of reproductive health problems in women Veterans...


The leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree are the source of a dietary supplement—taken in the form of capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, or teas—that have been found in some studies to boost cognitive function. The herb failed to show such an effect in a clinical trial with multiple sclerosis patients at the Portland (Ore.)

Popular mind-boosting herb fails to benefit multiple sclerosis patients

Despite promising results from an earlier pilot study, new results from VA and Oregon Health and Science University suggest that the popular herb Ginkgo biloba, taken by millions worldwide to boost brain function, may be of little value to patients with multiple sclerosis who are facing cognitive decline...

Journal scan Dr. Addanki Kumar, South Texas Veterans Health Care System, is working to identify a genetic signature that can predict which prostate tumors are likely to spread and reoccur

Will prostate cancer reoccur? Three-gene signature may hold answer

Scientists at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System and the University of Texas Health Science Center have come up with a "three-gene signature" they say can help tell which prostate cancers need aggressive treatment...

 Army Veteran Arlen Anderson, who is living with HIV, is seen by infectious disease fellow Dr. Bich Dang at the Houston VA Medical Center. A VA study on HIV care says the patient-provider relationship is the most critical factor in overall patient satisfaction.

In HIV care, patient-provider relationship is key

According to a survey conducted by researchers at the Houston VA Medical Center, the patient-provider relationship far exceeds other aspects of HIV care in overall patient satisfaction..

VA research shows statins may contribute to calcium deposits in arterial plaques, which also contain cholesterol. Some research suggests the calcium may actually help by stabilizing the plaques, but this theory is still being investigated.

Calcium build-up in arteries: Do statins make it worse?

A study based at the Phoenix VA Medical Center suggests that statin drugs, widely prescribed in the U.S. to improve cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, may actually increase calcium build-up in the arteries—although researchers aren't sure yet if this is necessarily a bad thing ...

Veteran Lonny Ellison (right) works with an occupational therapy team as part of a special cognitive training program at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. VA research has determined that for many Veterans, effectively treating PTSD and depression may help greatly in restoring cognitive function following TBI.

Teasing out the long-term effects of TBI

In a study of 760 Army soldiers who had suffered mild traumatic brain injury in Iraq, VA researchers and colleagues in Boston found that milder TBIs typically have "limited lasting neuropsychological consequences." On the other hand, posttraumatic stress disorder and depression, when not treated effectively, can have longer-term impacts on cognitive function...

Career milestones During VA National Research Week 2009, Dr. Thomas Starzl (left) shares a warm moment with former patient Bob Phillips, for whom he performed a kidney transplant in the early 1960s.

Transplant pioneer and longtime VA researcher receives Lasker Award

Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, who was a VA transplant surgeon and research scientist for nearly 50 years, received the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, one of the top honors in medical research...

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