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Thread: Hidden damage revealed in veterans' brains

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    Common's Avatar Senior Member
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    Hidden damage revealed in veterans' brains

    The discovery of a ''honeycomb pattern'' in the brains of combat veterans' who survived IED blasts may provide clues to the neurological impact of warfare, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Jillian Kitchener reports.

    Video at link





    http://www.reuters.com/video/2015/08...Channel=118065
    "The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it"



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    Peter1469 (08-17-2015)

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    whatukno's Avatar Senior Member
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    This is why post war therapy is so important. I am completely anti war, but our servicemen aren't to blame for those wars, and we as a nation have the duty to see to it that their psychological and physiological needs are met so that when they return to civilian life, they have the best chance they can of having a normal life after war.
    Wukky logic, the most powerful weapon humanity has against Vulcans.

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    Common (08-17-2015)

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    waltky's Avatar Senior Member
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    Mental illness, drug abuse on rise among veterans...

    Drug Abuse, Mental Illness Rise Among Veterans: VA Report
    Aug 04, 2016 | The number of Department of Veterans Affairs patients with diagnosed mental health or substance abuse issues increased between 2001 and 2014, according to a report on veteran suicide newly released by the VA.
    Between 2001 and 2014, the rate of mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders climbed from 27 percent to 40 percent, the Aug. 3 report states. Data on mental health and substance abuse were examined as part of the study, officials wrote, because those diseases are connected with a higher risk of suicide. But the study also found that the suicide rate among VA patients with those disorders decreased from 77.6 per 100,000 to 57 between 2001 and 2014 despite that correlation.

    The report, the most comprehensive study yet on veteran suicide, is based on a review of Defense Department records, records from each state and data from the Centers for Disease Control, VA officials said. Highlights from the report were released in early July. "The effort advances VA's knowledge from the previous report in 2012, which was primarily limited to information on Veterans who used [Veterans Health Administration] health services or from mortality records obtained directly from 20 states and approximately 3 million records," VA officials said in a release. Among early released findings was the conclusion that an average of 20 veterans take their lives each day, and that 65 percent of all veterans who committed suicide in 2014 were over age 50.

    Veterans, the report says, accounted for 18 percent of all suicide deaths among U.S. adults, down from 22 percent in 2010. The risk of suicide is 21 percent greater for veterans than for the U.S. civilian population, it says. Among a laundry list of actions the VA says it is taking to address the veteran suicide issue are expanding the Veterans Crisis Line, "predictive modeling" to determine which veterans are most at risk for suicide and "ensuring same-day access for Veterans with urgent mental health needs at over 1,000 points of care by the end of calendar year 2016," it said in a release.

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2...va-report.html

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    Pentagon's mental illness 'Bad Paper' discharges...

    Pentagon Issued 'Bad Paper' Discharges to Troops with Mental Illnesses
    17 May 2017 | WASHINGTON -- More than 13,000 service members separated from the military for misconduct in recent years suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or another disorder and were prevented from receiving treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs because of their discharge status.
    The Government Accountability Office released a report Tuesday detailing the thousands of possibly improper discharges the Defense Department issued from 2011 through 2015. The report states the Defense Department is inconsistent and doesn't always follow its own policies to take into consideration that a service-related medical disorder could have led to a service member's misconduct. The report particularly focuses on PTSD and TBI, signature wounds of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that the GAO report stated can change service members' moods and behaviors and lead to disciplinary problems. "Really, it's providing us with definitive proof to support what we've been saying for years: that the vast majority of veterans with bad paper are those who have been afflicted by PTSD, TBI and other conditions," said Kris Goldsmith, with Vietnam Veterans for America, who has been advocating for years for the Defense Department to change their discharge procedures. "DOD has been treating veterans like they're disposable."

    During the four-year span, the Defense Department separated 91,764 service members for misconduct, and 57,141 -- or 62 percent -- were diagnosed with PTSD, TBI or other conditions such as adjustment, anxiety, bipolar or substance abuse disorders within two years before leaving the service. About 35 percent of service members had adjustment disorders, which are psychological responses to stressful events. Eleven percent had TBI and 8 percent were diagnosed with PTSD. Most of the service members were given a "general" discharge, making them ineligible for some VA services. But 13,283 were given the more stringent "other-than-honorable" discharge, which disqualifies them from receiving VA health care. The GAO report found the Navy and Air Force didn't have a policy to medically screen service members for PTSD and TBI before they're separated for misconduct.


    U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Freddy Toruno, positions a service member for a CT scan at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan’s Craig Joint Theater Hospital

    Included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act was a measure titled the "Fairness for Veterans Act" that requires Defense Department panels that review discharges to consider medical evidence from a veteran's health care provider. Panels are supposed to review each case presuming PTSD, TBI or another condition led to the discharge. The office also found that in cases where service members facing disciplinary action chose separation rather than go through a trial by court-martial, the Army and Marine Corps might not have told servicemembers that the decision meant they were ineligible for VA services. Army officials also might not be following a policy to train officers to identify symptoms of TBI in service members, the report states. Inconsistencies and unfollowed policies have led to increased risk that service members are being "inappropriately" separated from the military, the GAO wrote.

    The Defense Department agreed with most of the GAO's recommendations to fix the issues. However, the department disputed some of the data included in the report, including a finding that 16 percent of separated service members suffered from PTSD or TBI. The Defense Department argued GAO double counted, and GAO maintained it didn't. The Defense Department also had concerns the GAO included adjustment and depression in its list of conditions that could have caused misconduct and led to service members' separation. The Defense Department said there was no clinical evidence to back that up, but the GAO said they came up with the list by talking with Defense Department and mental health professionals about conditions that could be caused or exacerbated by military service.

    Tuesday's report prompted Vietnam Veterans of America to renew their plea to President Donald Trump to establish a program to upgrade "bad paper" discharges for post-9/11 veterans who suffered from mental health conditions. The group first asked Trump in December to pardon the veterans. Advocates estimate about 22,000 veterans with mental illnesses have received other-than-honorable discharges since 2009. "These are veterans who volunteered to serve in a time of war, yet they've been failed by previous administrations," VVA National President John Rowan said Tuesday in a statement. "Our current commander-in-chief can't hesitate now. President Trump has always supported our veterans, and we are confident that he will listen to our plea."

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2...illnesses.html

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    VA Provides Service Dogs To Veterans With Mental Health Issues...


    VA Program Provides Service Dogs To Veterans With Mental Health Issues
    19 May 2017 | The VA is looking for veterans with PTSD and other mental health issues to participate in a service dog pilot program.
    VA already provides service dogs to veterans diagnosed as having visual, hearing or substantial physical mobility impairments that can be helped with the assistance of a guide dog or service dog. This pilot program adds chronic mental health issues as potential factors that may limit a veteran's mobility. Federal regulations only allow the VA to provide service dogs to veterans with hearing or sight loss, or those who have mobility issues - trouble getting around. Previously, the VA interpreted the definition of "mobility issues" to physical conditions that limited a veteran's mobility. The VA is now expanding their interpretation of this rule by saying that veterans suffering from severe PTSD or other mental health issues often are prevented from leaving their home or interacting with the general public as as result of their mental health issues. Therefore a veteran's mobility can also be limited by mental health conditions.


    Even though this program adds chronic mental health impairment as a potential issue that could limit a veteran's mobility, the VA still must determine if the service dog can assist a veteran by enhancing their mental health and mobility. The VA is hoping that a service dog can help set a veteran on the path to independent living. The pilot seeks to provide service dogs to 100 veterans with mental health issues, so far the VA has only approved 11 veterans for the program. There are 57 applications under review. The VA is also involved with a Congressionally ordered long-term study of service dogs for veterans with post traumatic stress. It's tracking more than 200 veteran and service dog teams, but it will take years to collect the data collection and analyze it.




    VA Secretary David Shulkin said, "I've seen the impact that these dogs can have on veterans and so I'm a believer. I don't want to wait until the research is there. If there's something that can help our veterans, we want to be pursuing it," The VA doesn't breed dogs—but relies on outside organizations, mostly non-profits, to raise and train them. The VA does provide veterinary care and equipment, however they don't pay for boarding, grooming, food, or any other routine expense associated with owning a dog. Service dogs are distinguished from pets and comfort animals because they are specially trained to perform tasks or work for a specific individual with a disability who cannot perform the task or accomplish the work independently. To be eligible for the veterinary health benefit, the service dog must be trained by an organization accredited by Assistance Dogs International in accordance with VA regulations.


    Additional information about VA’s service dog program can be found at http://www.prosthetics.va.gov/ServiceAndGuideDogs.asp Veterans with post-traumatic stress, depression or anxiety can apply to be part of this pilot project if they receive care from the VA. Interested veterans should start by talking to their treatment team and asking to be considered for a service dog under this program. For more information see for the Mental Health Mobility Service Dog Benefit Pilot, or contact the VHA Center for Compassionate Innovation at VHACCISD@va.gov.


    http://www.military.com/benefits/201...al-health.html

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