Vital Signs MHS

ISSUE 13 APRIL 2010 Welcome
As of March 2010 there were more than 36,000 service members injured during OIF/OEF. When you consider that more than half of the active duty force is married, many with children, you realize there are significant numbers of families and children who are impacted by parental injuries of war.

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MHS Vital Signs is distributed monthly to your inbox. To sign up and view the full version, visit us on the web at April 2010 Online Edition: • • • • • • • • April Is Month of the Military Child Ceremony Honors Fallen Medical Service Members MHS Announces New Medal of Honor Site Do You Know Your Drinking IQ? Warrior Care Spotlight: “Dizzy” Clinic Aids Soldiers With TBI Care Raising Expectations in Military Medical Education MHS Profiles: Saluting America’s Smallest Heroes Research Roundup: New Studies Reveal Genetic Changes That Lead to Cancer

We know, through research, that military children and families are generally strong and resilient. But we also know that military families and communities face challenges their civilian counterparts do not. Parental wartime injuries are an example. Expert consensus and professional involvement with military families and children of the wounded has shown that beginning with the notification of injury, a cascade of events takes place that can raise family stress, lead to additional family separation, and raise child anxiety and worry about parental health and their own safety. “Courage to Care, Courage to Talk” acknowledges the important role families play in the injury recovery process and the importance of family resilience, sustained parenting and appropriate communication about the injury with children of all ages to ensure their healthy development. In support of Month of the Military Child, I encourage you to be mindful of these military family concerns in your own practice and work to educate health care communities about the issues confronting military families and how best to address them. Enjoy this issue of MHS Vital Signs! Stephen J. Cozza, M.D. Associate Director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, USU

Mental Health America’s 2010 Annual Conference June 9-12, Washington, D.C. 37th Annual International Global Health Conference June 14-18, Washington, D.C. Military Child Education Coalition’s Annual Conference July 21-23, National Harbor, Md

April is Month of the Military Child
Military children often face stress related to deployments and time spent away from a parent. They may need additional support and guidance to ensure they thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. During April the Military Health System recognizes Month of the Military Child and offers resources for parents and family members who provide children with the care they need to grow and develop into maturity. Read more at

Research Roundup: New Studies Reveal Genetic Changes That Lead to Cancer
In 2005, University of Michigan medical
researchers made the groundbreaking discovery that mutant fused genes play a role in many common cancers.

Do You Know Your Drinking IQ?
With each deployment, military personnel and their families face enormous challenges, and the stress and anxiety associated with separation can lead many to misuse alcohol. April 8 was National Alcohol Screening Day but Miltary Pathways continues to encourage all service members and their families to complete a free, anonymous screening to assess their alcohol use and behaviors. “NASD is a wonderful way to promote alcohol awareness. It is an opportunity to provide soldiers with information and to explain to them what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to alcohol use,” said Yvonne Wilbanks, Fort Benning Army Substance Abuse Program. Read more at http://bit.lycc62o5.

Fused genes form when chromosomes (the structures that carry a cell’s genetic information) rearrange and bring two genes into proximity that shouldn’t be together. The DNA in the genes merges and causes problems by activating certain proteins.
“These researchers have shifted the cancer paradigm with their discovery that gene fusion is not limited to blood cancers and that it can be related to androgen. Their science is outstanding and will help the military in our goal of moving to more effective, individualized medicine,” said Col. Karl Friedl, director of the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. Finding recurrent gene fusions for a specific type of cancer brings researchers closer to making a specific test for that cancer and offering novel ways to treat it – perhaps even personalized drugs with fewer side effects. Read more at .

Warrior Care Spotlight: “Dizzy” Clinic Aids Soldiers With TBI Care
In March a multidisciplinary “dizzy” clinic at Walter Reed Army Medical Center celebrated its first year of treating active duty personnel who experience dizziness due to traumatic brain injury. The clinic opened last year to ensure that soldiers returning from deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom are seen by specialty providers in a timely manner. Dizziness, headaches, visual impairment and changes in hearing are common signs and symptoms of TBI, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, headquartered at Walter Reed. Many of the “dizzy” clinic’s patients experience dizziness after sustaining injuries due to blast exposures from improvised explosive devices, land mines, mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades. Read more at

MHS Announces New Medal of Honor Site
Medal of Honor Foundation in honoring those U.S. military medical personnel who have been recognized for the nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. Read more at

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More About MHS Vital Signs
MHS Vital Signs is the Military Health System’s monthly electronic newsletter, e-mailed to subscribers via GovDelivery. MHS Vital Signs provides the latest news and information on health care, education and training, research, and technology in the Military Health System. To have MHS Vital Signs e-mailed to you every month, please subscribe at

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