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Surge of U.S. Military Medical Personnel to Ease Medical Worker Shortages

President Joe Biden plans to announce Thursday that a "surge" of U.S. military medical personnel will soon be deployed to hospitals struggling with staff shortages amid soaring COVID-19 cases.

More than 1,000 will begin arriving at hospitals nationwide starting next week, and that deployment will be in addition to other federal medical personnel who have already been sent to states to off...

U.S. Army COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Nears 98%

Nearly 98% of the U.S. Army's active duty force had received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose as of Wednesday's deadline for mandatory vaccination, officials said Thursday.

However, more than 3,800 soldiers have refused to get a shot and could start being discharged from the military next month, according to an Army

  • Robert Preidt
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  • December 16, 2021
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  • Biden Announces New Lung Health Program for U.S. Veterans

    A new program to help U.S. veterans with lung problems caused by inhaling toxins while deployed was announced on Veterans Day by President Joe Biden.

    It will also assess the potential connection between cancers and time spent overseas breathing poor air, according to the White House.

    "We're discovering there is a whole host of lung conditions related to deployment," Dr. Richard Meeh...

    White House Announces Plan to Reduce Gun Suicides

    The Biden administration unveiled a plan on Tuesday that aims to cut gun suicides in the United States.

    Measures in the plan include creating awareness and training programs and making gun storage ...

    Equine Therapy: Horses Help Veterans Struggling With PTSD

    As a Marine Corps veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Matthew Ryba understands what life in a combat zone can do to soldiers' minds, leaving many struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Now, new research shows that equine therapy might go a long way in starting the healing process for these veterans. In the program, participants learned about horses, stroking their si...

    Pentagon Says Troops Must Start Lining Up Now for COVID Shots

    Unvaccinated U.S. troops must immediately start getting COVID-19 vaccines, says a memo issued Tuesday by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

    The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which recently received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will be added to the list of required shots for U.S. troops. They'll be able to get their shots at their bases and from their commands worldwid...

    Pentagon to Make COVID Vaccination Mandatory for Military

    Following on full U.S. regulatory approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the Pentagon announced on Monday that all military personnel -- including 1.3 million active-duty troops -- must get their shots.

    According to the Associated Press, Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said Pentagon officials are preparing to issue guidance to require vaccination, although no exact...

    U.S. Military Members Must Get COVID Vaccine by Mid-September

    All members of the U.S. military must get a COVID-19 vaccine by mid-September, the Pentagon announced Monday.

    Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted that the deadline could be moved up if the vaccine receives final approval sooner from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or if infection rates continue to rise.

    "I will seek the president's approval to make the vaccines mandatory no l...

    Defense Department Isn't Protecting Service Members From Toxic 'Forever Chemicals': Audit

    The U.S. Department of Defense isn't doing enough to guard service members against exposure to so-called "forever chemicals" associated with a range of health problems, the department's inspector general said Tuesday.

    The internal audit also noted that the department is falling short on tracking the health effects from exposure to the toxic compounds, called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroa...

    'Light Therapy' Could Help Brain-Injured Veterans Struggling With PTSD

    A popular treatment for the seasonal depression that strikes during dark winter months may also benefit veterans with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, a small pilot study suggests.

    Results from 16 older veterans found that bright light therapy alongside traditional treatments for these problems improved physical and mental symptoms.

    The therapy, in which...

    Nearly Half of U.S. Veterans Cited 'Personal Growth' During Pandemic: Survey

    Could there actually be a mental health upside to the ongoing pandemic?

    In a word, yes. At least that's the finding of a new survey, in which roughly four in 10 U.S. military veterans said that the experience has in some ways proven psychologically rewarding.

    Nearly 3,100 veterans participated in the survey, which was conducted in two parts, one just before the pandemic and one a ye...

    Sleep Issues Are Soaring in U.S. Military: Study

    Serving in the U.S. military can be stressful, and new research suggests the effect of that is showing up in a dramatic increase in two types of sleep problems.

    From 2005 to 2019, insomnia increased 45-fold and sleep apnea rose more than 30-fold among those who serve, researchers found.

    Those most likely to be diagnosed with either of the sleep disorders included personnel who were ...

    Counseling on Gun Safety Could Cut Suicide Rate in Military: Study

    When U.S. military personnel get gun locks and counseling on safe storage of their weapons, they store those guns safely, and that could be key to lowering the military suicide rate, researchers report.

    "Suicide mortality is higher in homes with a firearm and the majority of military personnel do not store their firearms safely or report suicidal thoughts," said study co-author Michael An...

    Reduced Drinking May Improve Veterans' Chronic Pain

    Cutting back on booze may reduce chronic pain and use of other substances among U.S. veterans who are heavy drinkers, according to a new report.

    The study included about 1,500 veterans who completed annual surveys between 2003 and 2015, and reported heavy drinking in at least one of those surveys.

    "We found some evidence for improvement of pain interference symptoms and subs...

    New Leash on Life: How Dog-Walking Is Helping Veterans Battered by PTSD

    Many soldiers experience traumas on the battlefield that leave them emotionally wounded, but something as simple as walking a dog might bring these veterans desperately needed psychic relief.

    So suggests a new study where researchers compared how four weeks of walking with a shelter dog or with another person affected three biomarkers of stress in male and female veterans with post-tr...

    Sexual Victimization Persists in U.S. Military for LGBTQs: Study

    Lesbian, gay and bisexual members in the U.S. military are at higher risk for sexual harassment, sexual assault and stalking, a new study reports.

    And that sexual victimization can trigger mental health problems such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use and suicidal behavior, researchers say.

    They surveyed 544 active-duty U.S. service members, includi...

    Active Older Vets More Likely to Fall, But Less Likely to Get Hurt: Study

    Physically active U.S. veterans are more likely to fall but less likely to get hurt when they do, compared with inactive older adults who didn't serve in the military, a new study finds.

    Researchers analyzed 2006-2015 data from nearly 12,000 veterans and nearly 37,000 others. Compared to non-veterans, vets had 11% more falls that didn't result in injuries, but 28% fewer falls...

    PTSD Can Take Heavy Toll on Hearts of Female Vets

    PTSD can cause severe psychic distress, but it may also raise heart risks for female veterans in particular, a new study suggests.

    "The association we found was incredibly strong," said lead author Dr. Ramin Ebrahimi, a cardiologist affiliated with the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

    "We have a rising number of women veterans, and a large proportion o...

    U.S. Veterans With Blocked Leg Arteries Seeing Better Results

    Fewer U.S. veterans are having leg amputations or dying due to serious blockages in leg arteries, a new study finds.

    These blockages are called critical limb ischemia (CLI). They can cause severe leg pain, wounds that don't heal and poor quality of life, according to the study published recently in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions.

    "All patients w...

    Traumatic Brain Injuries Raise Risk of Psychiatric Ills in Soldiers

    U.S. soldiers who suffer a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more likely to suffer other mental health woes than those with other serious injuries, a new study finds.

    It also showed that the rate of mental health disorders among seriously injured soldiers is much higher than previously reported.

    "A central takeaway is that severe TBI is associated with a gr...

    Veterans' Tough Veneer May Influence PTSD Severity

    Traits relating to traditional masculinity -- such as self-reliance and stoicism -- are associated with more severe and difficult-to-treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans, researchers say.

    "Overall, we found that strict adherence to masculine norms was associated with more severe PTSD symptoms in veterans, but more detailed analysis suggests that the associa...

    Health Care Is Top Concern for U.S. Veterans

    After discharge, military veterans are most concerned about their physical and mental health, a new study finds.

    Although most vets are satisfied with their work and social relationships, they are less happy with their health care. Most are coping with chronic physical or mental health conditions, researchers found.

    "What remains to be seen is whether those veterans with h...

    Veterans Often Hit Hard by Deaths of Fellow Soldiers

    As Americans pay tribute to all veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces Monday, new research suggests that how comrades died can affect levels of grief among soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    "Our goal was to better understand how combat veterans experience the deaths of their military comrades in battle or by suicide, and what factors predict the nature and leve...

    PTSD Linked to Increased Risk of Stroke in Younger Adults

    Young and middle-aged adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have an increased risk of stroke, new research suggests.

    For the study, researchers analyzed medical data from more than 1 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They ranged in age from 18 to 60 years and two-thirds were white.

    Of those, 29% had been diagnosed with PTSD. None had previo...

    Mental Ills May Put Veterans at Higher Odds for Heart Trouble

    Veterans who suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosis or bipolar disorder are more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or die from heart disease, a new study finds.

    Those who have most severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, are at greatest risk.

    Although it's unclear how mental problems affect heart disease risks, researchers think stress may play a pa...

    Many Female Veterans Troubled by History of Sexual Assault

    More than one in 10 older female veterans experienced sexual assault while on active duty, a new study shows.

    Doctors "caring for older women veterans should recognize the prevalence and importance of [military sexual trauma] when assessing patients' health concerns," said study author Dr. Carolyn Gibson.

    Gibson is with the San Francisco VA Health Care System. Her team notes...

    Vets With Traumatic Brain Injury Have Higher Suicide Risk: Study

    The risk of suicide among U.S. military veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is more than double that of other vets, a new study finds.

    Researchers analyzed records of more than 1.4 million vets who received care from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA) between 2005 and 2015.

    They compared severity of the traumatic brain injury with diagnoses o...

    Dogs Help Injured Vets Cope

    A big floppy-faced St. Bernard saved the life of Army veteran and combat medic Brian Gliba -- but not in the way you might think.

    Gliba first met Zeus in 2009 while battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dealing with the medical havoc wrought by an IED blast he survived in Iraq.

    Zeus' main job was to help Gliba remember to take the heavy doses of medication he re...

    Longer Rx for Birth Control Pills a Smart Idea for Female Vets: Study

    Giving U.S. female military veterans a year's supply of birth control pills would reduce their risk of unwanted pregnancies and lower health care costs, a new study finds.

    The researchers also found that the health care cost savings would more than outweigh the expense of providing birth control pills in larger quantities.

    Specifically, among the approximately 24,000 women r...

    Vets With PTSD Face Higher Odds for Early Death From Multiple Causes

    U.S. veterans with PTSD are twice as likely as the general population to die from suicide, accidents and viral hepatitis, a new study finds.

    Veterans with PTSD also have a higher risk of death from diabetes and liver disease, according to the study published June 24 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

    "Our findings suggest that treatment-seeking veterans w...

    Soldiers' Odds for Suicide Quadruple When Loaded Gun at Home

    Owning their own firearm, carrying it in public and keeping it loaded in the home: These three factors are each tied to a fourfold rise in the likelihood that a U.S. soldier will take his or her own life, a new report finds.

    Suicides among soldiers remain rare, but numbers have been on the rise in recent years, noted study lead author Dr. David Benedek.

    And his team's resea...

    American Soldiers' Hearts in Worse Shape Than Civilians'

    New research shatters the image of U.S. soldiers as the epitome of fitness and primed for battle: Instead, they are less likely to have ideal blood pressure than their civilian counterparts.

    In fact, less than one-third of active Army personnel have ideal blood pressure (120/80 mm Hg), compared with over half of the general population, the researchers found.

    "It's unexpecte...

    VA Doctors Prescribing Unnecessary Antibiotics, Study Says

    Antibiotic overuse is a major problem throughout the world. Now a new study finds four in 10 outpatients were inappropriately prescribed antibiotics at a major U.S. Veterans Affairs health system.

    That rate is higher than in previous studies on outpatient antibiotic use. Improper use of the drugs is associated with increased illness, cost and the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteri...

    'Exposure Therapy' May Work Best for PTSD Plus Drinking Problems

    For veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) combined with a drinking problem, the type of psychotherapy prescribed can make a difference in recovery rates, a new study finds.

    So-called prolonged exposure therapy is more effective than coping skills therapy in helping these patients, according to researchers at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

    "The main takeawa...

    Legacy of Gulf War Deployment: Higher Risk of Minor Birth Defects

    Here's bad news for some women in the military: An increased risk of minor birth defects was found among U.S. female veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War.

    Researchers examined data on minor and major birth defects among 788 children born to 522 Gulf War-era female and male veterans who were and were not deployed during the war. Women accounted for almost 30 percent of the veterans in the ...

    Heart Disease a Growing Threat to U.S. Veterans

    More U.S. veterans are at increased risk for heart disease, a looming public health problem, researchers say.

    They analyzed data from more than 153,000 people who took part in the National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

    Vets between the ages of 35 and 70 reported significantly more hear...

    Gun Deaths Up Sharply Among America's Schoolkids

    Gun-related deaths among school-age children in the United States are increasing at alarming rates, researchers report.

    In 2017, gun violence claimed more 5- to 18-year-olds than police officers or active-duty members of the U.S. military, according to a chilling new study led by investigators from Florida Atlantic University.

    "It is sobering that in 2017, there were 144 po...

    Vets Who Get Opioids From VA, Medicare at Higher Overdose Risk

    Many military veterans can get prescription opioid painkillers from both the VA and Medicare, putting them at nearly triple the risk for an overdose, new research warns.

    The finding could have implications for a huge number of vets: Roughly eight in 10 VA-covered patients have additional private or public health insurance coverage. About 51 percent have Medicare, and about one-third ...

    Does PTSD Really Harm Veterans' Hearts?

    By itself, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doesn't raise the risk of heart disease for U.S. veterans, a new study finds.

    "Instead, a combination of physical disorders, psychiatric disorders and smoking -- that are more common in patients with PTSD versus without PTSD -- appear to explain the association between PTSD and developing cardiovascular disease," said study author Jeffr...

    Little Evidence Pain Creams Work

    Despite their wide use, commercial pain creams and gels don't do much for chronic pain, a new report claims.

    In fact, the government-funded study, ordered by U.S. Congress, found these creams/gels were no better than placebos, researchers said.

    "Our study of nearly 400 pain patients suggests that people who use these compounded creams and gels are being taken advantage of, ...