Office of Research & Development

VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: Care for Returning Service Members | Table of Contents: Winter 2016 |

In This Issue: Care for Returning Service Members

From the Acting Chief Research and Development Officer  Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Komla Amewouame meets his daughter for the first time after returning to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 2015 after a seven-month deployment on the USS Chafee. (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Laurie Dexter/USN
It is appropriate that my first message to readers of this publication as acting chief research and development officer (CRADO) is on the subject of caring for returning service members. This is because restoring ill and injured Veterans from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to their highest levels of functioning and helping to create the best quality of life possible for them when they return home are two of the most important challenges VA researchers face...Read more
New Initiatives VA part of public-private partnership in Veterans Metrics InitiativeVA part of public-private partnership in Veterans Metrics Initiative
VA is among several public and private partners working with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine on a new study aimed at learning what types of programs and services are most helpful to Veterans as they reintegrate after deployment ...

Longitudinal cohort study of Iraq War VeteransLongitudinal cohort study of Iraq War Veterans
The enduring effects of war on mood and stress symptoms, thinking and reaction skills, and aspects of day-to-day life are the subject of VA Cooperative Study No. 566, scheduled to be completed in September 2016. The study is assessing the mental health status of Iraq War Veterans in relation to their own pre-deployment functioning. It is a follow-up to the Department of Defense's Neurocognition Deployment Health Study, which collected data on nearly 1,600 troops at two military bases beginning in 2003...

VA's Evidence-based Synthesis Program reports on suicide prevention in VeteransVA's Evidence-based Synthesis Program reports on suicide prevention in Veterans
The accuracy of methods to identify those at increased risk for suicide, and the effectiveness of interventions to reduce suicide and self-directed violence, were the topics addressed in a November 2015 report by the ESP team at the VA Portland Health Care System....


A Chat with Our Experts  Dr. Terence M. Keane Insights on the evolution of PTSD
Dr. Terence M. Keane is the director of the Behavioral Science Division of the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Health Care System and a professor of psychiatry and psychology and assistant dean for research at Boston University School of Medicine. In January 2016, he was named the 2015 recipient of VA's John Blair Barnwell Award for his worldwide leadership in research on traumatic stress, particularly PTSD, and for his longtime service to VA and his profession. Keane spoke with VARQU about the early days of PTSD research and recent advances in the field, among other topics. ...
Noteworthy Publications Trauma tied to autoimmune disorders Trauma tied to autoimmune disorders
A retrospective study of 666,269 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans under the age of 55 found that trauma exposure and PTSD may increase the risk of developing autoimmune disorders. The investigators learned that Veterans with PTSD or other psychiatric disorders had a significantly higher adjusted relative risk of autoimmune disorders including thyroiditis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus erythematosus. ...

Magnetic therapy may ease persistent headache pain Magnetic therapy may ease persistent headache pain
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) reduced the intensity of persistent daily headaches in 58 percent of Veterans who took part in a recent trial conducted by researchers at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. In TMS, clinicians take an electromagnetic coil, charge it with electricity, and apply it to specific points on the skull. The result is a targeted magnetic field that can affect brain cells in a specific area...

Military misconduct associated with subsequent homelessness Military misconduct associated with subsequent homelessness
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans separated from military service for reasons of misconduct were far more likely to become homeless than those who left the service under normal circumstances, according to a recent report from VA researchers published in the Aug. 25, 2015, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. ...

Gender differences in chronic pain Gender differences in chronic pain
Male and female Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans do not differ significantly in terms of pain severity, the extent to which pain interferes with their functioning, the severity of symptoms of depression, or the use of prescription opioids, according to a study led by investigators from the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale University School of Medicine. ...

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