Study: No link found between suicide rate, deployments | Better sharing of military health records needed, advocates say | Some veterans may suffer disorder caused by repeated head trauma, researchers say

April 8, 2015
AMSUS SmartBrief

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Study: No link found between suicide rate, deployments
A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has found no link between rising military suicide rates and deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. The study found that the suicide rate for troops deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan was only slightly higher than for troops who remained in the U.S. or were deployed elsewhere. The potential link between suicide rates and combat exposure still needs to be explored, the study's lead author said. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (4/1)
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Military Health System
Better sharing of military health records needed, advocates say
Transferring medical records from the Defense Department to the Department of Veterans Affairs is causing problems for veterans. Currently, service members who are leaving the military are provided with compact discs containing their health records in PDF files that can't be updated. Veterans advocates are urging the two departments to make health records available to each other electronically. The Washington Times (4/5)
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Veterans Health Administration
Some veterans may suffer disorder caused by repeated head trauma, researchers say
Veterans experiencing memory problems, depression and mood swings may be suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition caused by repeated concussions. Researchers are looking at PET scans of veterans' brains for telltale signs of the disorder. "In the military, it seems it would be vitally important to know who has been exposed to this, and then be able to identify, mark, follow the progression of brain degeneration from blast injury. And to know who's at risk and maybe who needs to be pulled out of harm's way permanently," said Julian Bailes, co-author of a study on the condition. CNN (4/6)
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Residential treatment program helps veterans with PTSD
Pathway Home in California's Napa Valley provides a haven for veterans with PTSD. The program houses veterans at no cost for four months, holding classes in art, writing and meditation as well as daily therapy sessions where participants recall their most traumatic battle memories. Stars and Stripes (4/6)
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National Health Care
CDC warns of new drug-resistant bacteria
A drug-resistant strain of Shigella sonnei bacteria, commonly treated with the antibiotic Cipro, is now circulating in the U.S., particularly in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and San Francisco, the CDC warns. There have already been 243 reported cases of infection with the drug-resistant strain, including 95 in San Francisco, where homeless people were particularly affected. Shigella is spread through poor sanitation and in contaminated food and water. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain and may clear up without treatment; antibiotics are prescribed for severe cases. Bloomberg (4/2)
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Health and Medical Research
Study: Smoking makes drug-resistant bacteria more aggressive
Drug-resistant bacterial infections are more likely to be severe in people who smoke cigarettes, according to the results of a study led by Dr. Laura Crotty Alexander with the VA San Diego Health Care System. Macrophages infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and exposed to cigarette smoke extract were more resistant to being killed by reactive oxygen species and were better able to invade cells than MRSA-infected macrophages not exposed to the extract. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (4/3)
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Meeting abstract submissions now being accepted
Reach an audience of your peers across federal agencies, international medical delegations and world-renowned medical professionals. Attendees from DOD, VA, USPHS, various other medical agencies and civilians are expected. Categories include Global Health; Psychological Health; Clinical Best Practices and Operations/Logistics Best Practices. Visit the Call for Abstracts Web page for more information, deadline dates and to submit your abstract.
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Check out the latest Military Medicine articles from the online AMSUS Journal library
Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life and other journal articles are free to AMSUS members and subscribers who have registered and subscribed to access more than 100 issues of Military Medicine journals online. Subscription rates and membership eligibility are available on the AMSUS website.
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