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This Issue: Chronic Disease Care | Table of Contents: Spring 2017 | Download this issue

In This Issue: Chronic Disease Care

From the Chief Research and Development Officer
Rachel B. Ramoni, D.M.D., Sc.D There are more than 5 million Veterans actively receiving care in the Veterans Health Administration. VA is committed to supporting a strong research and development program and promoting bench-to-bedside initiatives that help bring new research applications directly to patient care. In this issue, we have taken the opportunity to highlight a number of research initiatives and programs that are especially relevant to caring for Veterans who live with chronic illnesses. Read more
New Initiatives | Announcements 'Weight Management in the VHA' SOTA Conference 'Weight Management in the VHA' SOTA Conference
In 2016, VA HSR&D sponsored a state of the art conference titled "Weight Management in the Veterans Health Administration." The overall goal of the meeting was to develop a more integrated system-wide approach to improve weight management for Veterans. A special print supplement of the Journal of General Internal Medicine included findings from the conference and conclusions from three workgroups. Read more

Collaboration on research into complementary approaches to chronic pain Collaboration on research into complementary approaches to chronic pain
A new joint program between VA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense will promote research into nondrug approaches to treat chronic pain. The goal of the research program is to develop the capacity to implement cost-effective, large scale clinical research in military and VA health care systems. Read more

Spotlight on pain managementSpotlight on pain management
VA HSR&D held its state of the art conference on pain management in March 2017. VA patients have twice the rate of accidental poisoning deaths than that of the U.S. population as a whole. Most often those deaths involve opioid overdose. To address this concern, several work groups were convened to look at the effectiveness of therapies for chronic musculoskeletal pain, delivery and dosing strategies, and implementation challenges and strategies within VA. Read more

A Chat with Our Experts Dr. Karen Saban  Using mindfulness to combat stress-related heart disease in women Veterans
Dr. Karen Saban is a nurse research scientist at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital. She is currently investigating the ways that stress can cause inflammation in the body, which can potentially lead to inflammatory-related disease, such as heart disease. VARQU recently spoke with Saban about her work to reduce the effects of inflammatory diseases using mindfulness techniques. Read more

PODCAST: Dr. Saban talks about using mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques in women Veterans. Listen, Transcript

Read the American Heart Association's recommendation on the potential usefulness of meditation to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Spotlight on Career Development Awardees Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren Improving Veteran buy-in to prevent diabetes
Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren is a VA research scientist and an internal medicine physician who treats patients at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Michigan. His research focuses on key strategies that can be implemented within the VHA to help at-risk Veterans commit to reducing their risk for type 2 diabetes. VARQU recently spoke with Kullgren about his work to improve the health of Veterans who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes. Read more
Noteworthy Publications Better dental care improves health for Vets with type 2 diabetes Better dental care improves health for Vets with type 2 diabetes
A team including researchers at the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina, and Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston found that Veterans who had type 2 diabetes and periodontal disease achieved better control of their blood sugar levels when they received regular periodontal dental cleanings. Read more

PTSD and heart disease can go hand in hand PTSD and heart disease can go hand in hand
When most people think of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) the first thing that comes to mind is stress. But mental health isn't the only body system that can suffer from the effects of PTSD. Researchers have known for quite some time that prolonged stress can affect multiple organ systems, for example, the cardiovascular system—which consists of the heart and blood vessels. Read more

VA researchers pinpoint gene linked to colorectal cancer spread VA researchers pinpoint gene linked to colorectal cancer spread
The Sprouty2 gene, which expresses a particular protein (SPRY2), suppresses tumor spreading, referred to as metastasis, in breast, prostate, and liver cancer. But researchers at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, and University of Missouri discovered that the gene functions differently in colorectal cancer. Read more

Veterans with PTSD like using online technology to manage care Obesity prevalence among key subgroups within the VHA
Dr. Jessica Breland is a researcher with the Center for Innovation to Implementation at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California. She and her team reviewed 2014 health data to evaluate and describe the prevalence of obesity within key VHA population subgroups. They published their findings in the April 2017 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Read more

Infograph Obesity and overweight rates among VA patients Obesity and overweight rates among VA patients
Source: "The Obesity Epidemic in the Veterans Health Administration: Prevalence Among Key Populations of Women and Men Veterans." Based on data on nearly 5 million Veterans Heath Administration patients in 2014. JGIM, online March 7, 2017. Read more
In the News
Honorable Mentions

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