VA Research: Diabetes & TBI

Jim Fausone
Veteran Disability Attorney

VA Healthcare does a tremendous amount of research and works to get that information out into the public.

As part of an effort to inform Veterans and others about their risk for developing the disease, Timothy, of VA’s Office of Research and Development, appeared on The National Defense, a syndicated radio program provided to radio stations nationwide by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

According to Dr. O’Leary, type 2 (adult onset) diabetes affects nearly 20 percent of Veterans who use VA health care, compared to about 8 percent of the general public.

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney, disease, and amputation in the United States, and that up to 80 percent of patients with diabetes will face a heart attack or stroke. Dr. O’Leary said that VA is finding that group therapy is proving to be a successful method to help people control their blood sugar levels; that using pedometers encourages physical activities to help keep diabetes under control; and that coaching and counseling is an important aspect of managing the disease.

If you are a veteran and have diabetes you should get treatment.  The VA may be able to help and you may be entitled to disability compensation.  Do not ignore this condition.

Veterans exposed to blasts may still have brain damage even if they have no symptoms, according to a study led by researchers at VA’s Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) in Durham, N.C., and Duke University. The results of the study were reported on in U.S. News and World Report and a number of other publications.

The research suggested that a lack of symptoms of traumatic brain injury after a blast may not indicate the extent of brain damage caused by the blast.

In the study, researchers divided 45 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans into three groups: those who had been exposed to blasts and had symptoms of TBI; those who’d been exposed to blasts and had no TBI symptoms; and those with no blast exposure. The participants underwent scans to look for damage in the brain’s white matter, as well as tests to assess their mental abilities. Veterans who were exposed to blasts but had no symptoms had brain damage similar to that seen in those with symptoms of TBI.  So this contradicts a position taken by VA Benefits that a lack of symptoms in service means no injury.

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