Soldier convicted of civilian killings in Afghanistan blames malaria drug | Study: Military needs to improve follow-up on troops with suicide risk | Autism care facility opens at Madigan Army Medical Center
August 9, 2017
AMSUS SmartBrief
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Soldier convicted of civilian killings in Afghanistan blames malaria drug
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who received a life sentence for the 2012 killing of 16 Afghan civilians, has requested a special hearing pertaining to his taking the malaria drug mefloquine. A report submitted to Roche, which makes the Lariam branded mefloquine, cited a patient who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, a contraindication in prescribing the drug, and was given mefloquine prior to slaying Afghan civilians -- presumably a reference to Bales, who had sustained such an injury.
McClatchy Washington Bureau (8/8) 
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Military Health System
Study: Military needs to improve follow-up on troops with suicide risk
A study by the Rand Corp. found that the military health system did not provide adequate follow-up care to troops with a risk for suicide, noting that less than half received recommended care. Other findings suggested the need for better care coordination and noted a variance in the quality of PTSD and depression care by branch, region and characteristics of the patient, although military medicine was strong in follow-up after a patient was hospitalized for psychiatric issues.
The San Diego Union-Tribune (tiered subscription model) (8/8) 
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Veterans Health Administration
Shulkin: VA should treat veterans like consumers
The VA needs to think of veterans as consumers and to provide them with services they want, VA Secretary David Shulkin says. "We're going to have to open up our system to be more competitive with the private sector," he said at a VA Innovators Network event.
Nextgov (8/8) 
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Tech boost for veterans' health care pledged by Trump
The government will expand the use of technology to improve health care for military veterans, especially those with mental health conditions, President Donald Trump said last week. These tools may include video technology and new diagnostics for medical exams, as well as the ability to use mobile devices to manage appointments.
ABC News/The Associated Press (8/3) 
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Health and Medical Research
VA study: Yoga reduces back pain, opioid use
A study by the VA San Diego Healthcare System found a significant drop in reported back pain among veterans after six months of twice-weekly yoga sessions. In addition, the number of patients using opiate-based painkillers dropped from 20% to 8%.
The San Diego Union-Tribune (tiered subscription model) (8/6) 
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Study: Midlife health factors may increase dementia risk
Midlife heart-related health factors associated with an increased risk of dementia include diabetes, high blood pressure, pre-high blood pressure and smoking, according to a study in JAMA Neurology. Having diabetes increased the risk of dementia almost as much as having the APOE-e4 gene, which is a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, researchers found.
HealthDay News (8/7) 
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Keynote speaker for AMSUS Meeting: Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Come to this year's AMSUS Annual Meeting, Nov. 28-Dec. 2, to hear keynote speaker Dr. David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Shulkin's address will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 28. In addition to Dr. Shulkin, hear from other senior federal leadership. Find more details on the Schedule-At-A-Glance. Meeting registration opens in mid-September.
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AMSUS event on day of eclipse: Zero Preventable Deaths from Trauma
Join us to not only be able to view the eclipse at its height, but to hear from medical professionals as they address concerns around the urgent call to action to reduce the number of deaths due to traumatic injury. Learn more about the discussion and register for the Aug. 21 event in Washington, D.C.
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Neil Gaiman,
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