Top 10 Veterans News from Around the Country


* Find out What’s Inside Today’s Local News for Veterans *

  1. Accupressure Technique Touted As PTSD Treatment.
  2. Number Of Vets Diagnosed With PTSD At Hospital Rose 114% Since 2005.
  3. Controversy Grows Over PSA Prostate Cancer Screening Test.
  4. Study: Aggressive Drug Treatment Strategies For Diabetics Ineffective.
  5. Relatively Little Aid Seen As Available For Homeless Women Veterans.
  6. Newport News Facility Serves Homeless Female Veterans.
  7. VA Medical System In Colorado Adapting To Women’s Needs.
  8. Providence VAMC Celebrating Women’s History Month.
  9. VA To Hold Guam Women Veterans Conference.
  10. Home Town Remembers Pacific War Hero.

Have You Heard
VA-purchased equipment is flying down the slopes and gliding across the ice at the 2010 Winter Paralympics Games in Vancouver this week. Five Veterans are competing in Vancouver and the adaptive sports equipment they will use to compete and for day-to-day mobility (wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs) were provided by VA Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service (PSAS). This is the first Paralympics Winter Games in which athletes will be competing with equipment provided by VA. The Veterans competing are: Chris Devlin-Young (Alpine Skiing), Heath Calhoun (Alpine Skiing), Patrick McDonald (Wheelchair Curling), Sean Halsted (Cross Country Skiing) and Andy Soule (Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon). The 2010 Paralympics Winter Games, held in Vancouver March 12-21, feature the top U.S. athletes taking on the world’s best in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, biathlon, wheelchair curling and sled hockey. Learn more about these Veteran athletes and follow them through the Paralympics. Check local listings for special television highlight wrap up coverage by NBC April 10.

1.      Accupressure Technique Touted As PTSD Treatment. The Santa Rosa (CA) Press Democrat (3/13, Hay) reports that the Santa Rosa-based research group The Stress Project “is trying to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs to adopt” alternative medicine emotional freedom techniques, or “EFT” therapy, “as a standard treatment for veterans with PTSD.” Sometimes referred to as “tapping,” the group claims that the technique, in which patients are trained to tap on acupressure points as they review and come to terms with past traumas, can reduce PTSD, depression and pain. Although some clinical psychologists working with VA may use the technique, the VA itself has not recognized it, and the article says that EFT is “not used at the VA’s National Center for PTSD in Menlo Park, and no doctors knew enough about it to comment, a VA spokeswoman said.”

2.      Number Of Vets Diagnosed With PTSD At Hospital Rose 114% Since 2005. According to the San Bernardino County (CA) Sun (3/15, Steinberg), “49,637 patients diagnosed” with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “were treated” last year at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center in Loma Linda. The Sun continues, “With an influx of veterans from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of patients diagnosed with PTSD at the Loma Linda medical center has soared 114 percent from 2005, Veterans Affairs officials say,” although “not all of that increase is from veterans coming out of the war on terror. Many fought in Vietnam, and as they enter retirement, they are haunted by images of the current conflicts, said Dennis Bull, a staff psychologist at the Loma Linda veterans hospital.”

3.      Controversy Grows Over PSA Prostate Cancer Screening Test. AFP (3/13, Santini) reports the “growing debate” over common use of the PSA procedure to screen for prostate cancer, after the developer of the process said it has become a “hugely expensive public health disaster.” The article notes that the American Cancer Society “does not recommend” the prostate specific antigen test, because it does not distinguish between fast0 and slow-developing forms of the disease and often gives erroneous results, and its discoverer, Richard Albin of the University of Arizona, in a column in the New York Times “deplored PSA screenings’ annual cost of at least three billion dollars, much of that paid for by Medicare, the insurance program for the elderly, and the Veterans Administration.”

4.      Study: Aggressive Drug Treatment Strategies For Diabetics Ineffective. The AP (3/15) reports, “Key results from a landmark federal study are in,” and they are “disappointing for diabetics: Adding drugs to drive blood pressure and blood-fats lower than current targets did not prevent heart problems, and in some cases caused harmful side effects. A decade ago, the federal government launched the three-part study to see whether intensely lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, or fats in the blood would reduce heart attacks and strokes in diabetics.” After noting that two years ago, the blood sugar part of the study “was stopped…when researchers saw more instead of less risk with that approach,” the AP adds, “The blood-pressure part of the study was led by Dr. William Cushman, preventive medicine chief” at the Veterans Affairs hospital “in Memphis, Tenn.”
The New York Times (3/15, A11, Kolata, 1.09M) also notes Cushman’s work on the study, as does the Los Angeles Times (3/15, Maugh, 776K), which says Cushman “and his colleagues at 77 medical centers enrolled 4,733 diabetics with high cholesterol levels and existing cardiovascular disease or a high risk of developing it.” The Chicago Tribune (3/15, 534K) publishes the same story. MedPage Today (3/14, Phend, Peck) said Cushman’s research, along with research involving diabetics and fats in the blood, were both part of the “highly anticipated Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial.” Results of research from the trial were presented Sunday “at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Atlanta, Ga. and released simultaneously online in the New England Journal of Medicine.”

5.      Relatively Little Aid Seen As Available For Homeless Women Veterans. The Fort Wayne (IN) Journal-Gazette (3/14, Haynie) reports, “As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue, more and more female veterans are becoming homeless. The number has doubled in the past decade, with an estimated 6,500 homeless female veterans in the country — about 5 percent of the homeless veteran population. Homeless advocates said the trend is particularly troubling because so few programs cater to homeless female veterans.” The homeless coordinator at the Fort Wayne VAMC “said she has put at least six formerly homeless female veterans in their own apartments during her three years with the Fort Wayne VA,” including two Iraq or Afghanistan veterans.

6.      Newport News Facility Serves Homeless Female Veterans. The Newport News (VA) Daily Press (3/13, Lessig, 76K) profiles two homeless female military veterans in residence at the Malachi House in Newport News, and which is especially seeking female veterans. Although neither of the two, both army veterans, served in combat, one says she suffers from PTSD and depression, which she attributes to military sexual trauma, while the other lost her son and broke her leg in an automobile crash.

7.      VA Medical System In Colorado Adapting To Women’s Needs. On its website, KUNC-FM

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Greeley, Colorado (3/12, Hood) said the Veterans Affairs “medical system has traditionally been geared toward treating an aging male population,” but that “model is changing in Colorado,” where among other things, a planned “$300 million dollar hospital” in Denver “will open its doors…with a dedicated space for a women’s clinic.” KUNC added, “If President Obama’s proposed budget for next year is approved, funding for women veteran’s health care could grow by as much as 10 percent nationwide.”

8. Providence VAMC Celebrating Women’s History Month. In the lead item for his “Veterans’ Journal” column in the Providence (RI) Journal (3/14), George W. Reilly reports, “With 450,000 women now enrolled in the Veterans Administration health-care system, the Providence VA Medical Center is celebrating Women’s History Month this month.” According to Reilly, the hospital, which last year “hired a full-time women veterans’ program” manager, “provides a variety of care and services to meet the comprehensive needs of women veterans.”

9.      VA To Hold Guam Women Veterans Conference. Guam’s Pacific Daily News (3/15) reports, “The Department of Veterans Affairs will hold its fourth Guam Women Veterans Conference from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 26 at the Outrigger Guam Resort in Tumon.” After noting that the theme of the conference “is ‘Writing Women Back Into History,'” the Daily News adds, “There will be a variety of topics that include readjustment issues for women, department benefits and services, financial and entrepreneurial opportunities, and financial investment information, according to a department news release.”

10.    Home Town Remembers Pacific War Hero. NBC Nightly News (3/13, story 13, 2:45, Holt, 8.37M) reported, “This weekend, a reminder of how great” was the courage of the “greatest generation” who won World War II. NBC (Thompson) added, “In the borough of Raritan, New Jersey, home to more than 6,000 people, one name stands out. John Basilone. It’s on a bridge, an athletic field, a street and a room in the library. A long-ago local hero. To some just a name, until this weekend. The nation will once again learn of the bravery of John Basilone, one of three Marines featured in the HBO miniseries ‘The Pacific.’ The son of an Italian immigrant, one of 10 children, Basilone’s courage in World War II’s Battle of Guadalcanal made him a national hero, singlehandedly killing 38 enemy soldiers.” Called back to the States to sell war bonds, “Basilone said he felt like a museum piece. He returned to the Pacific, and died on Iwo Jima” at the age of 28. He is one of three Marines featured in the HBO miniseries ‘The Pacific,’ which debuts Sunday. And his memory is kept alive in his hometown by an annual parade in his honor.

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