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This Issue: The Aging Veteran | Table of Contents: Summer 2016 |

In This Issue: The Aging Veteran

From the Acting Chief Research and Development Officer  These older Veterans visited the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 2015, with help from the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight.
The latest VA statistics indicate that nearly 46 percent of the more than 21 million living Veterans are age 65 or older. However, World War II Veterans no longer make up the majority of older Veterans: Only about 847,000 of the 12 million men and women who served during that conflict are still alive. Of those who served in the Korean conflict, 1.7 million still survive. The main cohort of older Veterans using VA services is now the 7.1 million surviving Veterans who served from 1961 through 1975, designated by public law as the Vietnam War era ...Read more
New Initiatives Vets who served in or during Vietnam War are focus of new health studyVets who served in or during Vietnam War are focus of new health study
This fall, VA will launch a new large-scale nationwide study to assess the health and well-being of Vietnam and Vietnam-era Veterans, and to compare their health to that of their counterparts who did not serve in the military. The Vietnam Era Health Retrospective Observational Study (VE-HEROeS) will involve some 43,000 Veterans and 11,000 non-Veterans...

Vets who served in or during Vietnam War are focus of new health study CONFIRM now VA's largest clinical trial ever
VA's Colonoscopy Versus Fecal Immunochemical Test in Reducing Mortality from Colorectal Cancer (CONFIRM) trial recruited its 38,566th participant in June—making it the largest VA clinical trial in history. The trial, which began in 2010, is a large multisite study designed to compare the effectiveness of colonoscopy with that of fecal immunochemical testing in reducing colon cancer deaths...

Study to compare two gout medicationsStudy to compare two gout medications
Two widely used therapies for gout will be compared head to head in a soon-to-begin VA multisite study. The four-year study, managed by researchers at the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System in Omaha, will enroll 950 patients with a diagnosis of gout, including patients with stage 3 (moderate) chronic kidney disease...

A Chat with Our Experts  Dr. Christine W. Hartmann Promoting resident-centered care in VA community living centers
Dr. Christine W. Hartmann is a research health scientist at VA's Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR) and a research associate professor at Boston University's School of Public Health. Her research focuses on nursing home safety, the quality of long-term care, and nursing home cultural transformation. She uses both quantitative and qualitative methods. Her national service to VHA includes chairing the VHA National Community Living Centers (CLC) Cultural Transformation Steering Committee. VARQU spoke to her about her work on culture change at CLCs.
Spotlight on Career Development New directions in Parkinson's disease rehabNew directions in Parkinson's disease rehab
Starting with this issue, each issue of VARQU will highlight the work of a VA Career Development awardee. The highly competitive program offers top-caliber junior scientists salary and research funding, along with mentored training and other scientific and administrative support. This issue, the spotlight is on Dr. Mon S. Bryant, a research health scientist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, and an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. She is looking into new rehabilitation therapies for Parkinson's disease.
Noteworthy Publications Frontotemporal dementia tied to defect in brain's immune system Frontotemporal dementia tied to defect in brain's immune system
A defect in immune cells called microglia may trigger a neurodegenerative condition called frontotemporal dementia, according to a new international study appearing in the May 5, 2016, edition of Cell. The work, led by a scientist with VA and the University of California, San Francisco, may also have implications for Alzheimer's, traumatic brain injury, and other brain conditions.

Study focuses on course of pain in older Veterans Study focuses on course of pain in older Veterans
Older Veterans with chronic pain frequently show improvements in the intensity of their pain over time. However, prescriptions of opioids, mental health issues, and certain pain diagnoses are associated with a lower likelihood of improvement, according to a study in the July 2016 issue of the Journal of Pain.

Elderly Veterans with hepatitis C Elderly Veterans with hepatitis C
Elderly Veterans with chronic hepatitis C virus are at a higher risk than younger ones of developing illnesses that make it less likely they will either receive or respond to antiviral treatment. That is one of the findings from a study by researchers with the Michael A. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston and Baylor College of Medicine.

How older Veterans confront wartime memories How older Veterans confront wartime memories
As they age, many combat Veterans confront and rework their wartime memories in an effort to find meaning and build coherence, according to a 2016 study, published in The Gerontologist, led by researchers with VA's National Center for PTSD.

Savvy caregiver program successfully adapted for the Internet Savvy caregiver program successfully adapted for the Internet
The widely used Savvy Caregiver Program, designed to help family and friends care for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, can be used successfully in an Internet-based version, according to researchers at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and Emory University.

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