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Monday, June 27, 2011

CDMRP-Funded Study Finds the First Treatment for Gulf War Illness Symptoms

A new Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) study has found the first successful treatment for some aspects of Gulf War Illness (GWI), a neurological disease with immunological dysfunction resulting in an array of chronic, debilitating symptoms that affects more than one in three veterans of the 1991 Gulf War.

The finding comes on the heels of highly flawed Washington Post and Military Times (Army Times, Marine Corps Times, etc.) articles suggesting the tiny CDMRP is duplicative and is taking needed DoD funding from elsewhere.

For GWI, research funding is available through two sources, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the CDMRP.  VA funding is restricted to VA employees.  CDMRP funding is available to any qualified researchers, including in academia or the public or private sectors, through a highly competetive, peer-reviewed process that includes "consumer reviewers" at every stage of the review process. ("Consumer reviewers" are individuals who are personally affected by the disease or disorder being studied.)

The study, led by Dr. Beatrice Golomb of the University of California-San Diego, has found that use of Coenzyme Q10, a powerful anti-oxidant, alleviates some of the most commonly reported symptoms of Gulf War Illness, including headaches, inability to focus, and fatigue after exertion.

The study found that some participants also had reduced chronic diarrhea and improved blood pressure levels.

The treatment uses liquid gel caps of the ubiquinone form of CoQ10 (not "ubiquinol") at 100mg and 300mg daily doses.  Taking the CoQ10 too late in the day, especially at higher doses, may have negatively impacted sleep quality.

The study found that pain relief was greater at the higher dosage.   Dr. Golomb said her study used CoQ10 produced by Jarrow Formulas.

The treatment was targeted at, and appears to have positively impacted the mitochondrial dysfunction believed to be a resultant component of GWI. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine estimated that 250,000 of the 696,842 veterans of the 1991 Gulf War are affected by this chronic multi-symptom illness.

The CDMRP was first funded for GWI in FY2006, and Dr. Golomb's study was among that first group that was funded.  

Read today's Page 4 USA Today news story about the new CDMRP-funded study:


Gel cap CoQ10 is available at highly discounted prices online at www.swansonvitamins.com.   Dr. Golomb also recommends Carlson brand cod liver oil.


-Anthony Hardie, Madison, Wis.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

DAV Calls for Mandatory Reporting of all Sexual Assaults in VA Facilities

DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS
807 Maine Ave., SW • Washington, D.C. 20024 • Phone (202) 554-3501 • Fax (202) 863-0233

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2011

DAV Calls for Mandatory Reporting of all Sexual Assaults in VA Facilities

WASHINGTON — The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) finds very disturbing a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which cites 284 cases of alleged, attempted or confirmed sex assaults on patients and employees at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers between January 2007 and last July.

“It is fundamental that our VA hospitals offer a safe environment as well as top-flight medical care,” said DAV National Commander Wallace E. Tyson. “This is very disturbing news, and we urge the VA to put into place the report’s recommendations at all medical centers, clinics and other facilities.”

The GAO report examined sexual assaults at VA medical centers and found that many times the victims’ reports are mishandled or inappropriately acted upon based on decisions by local physicians and administrators.

The DAV strongly recommends the creation of a task force to ensure the VA adopts a culture of safety and promptly develops a uniform policy for the reporting of all sexual assaults.

“We look to the VA and the administration to make safety a priority in our VA medical centers,” Tyson said.

“Mandatory reporting is absolutely necessary. There must be a strict requirement set immediately that all allegations of sexual assaults be reported to an independent body of oversight,” Commander Tyson said.

“These reports can no longer be allowed to be dealt with solely at the local level.”

“This is not a gender-specific issue – this is an issue for every veteran, family member and caregiver.

Every person who enters a VA facility must know the government is doing everything possible to keep them safe. VA needs to be a place of care not of fear.”

The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation’s disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single
purpose: building better lives for our nation’s disabled veterans and their families. For more information, visit the organization’s Web site www.dav.org.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CDMRP Has Many Supporters


June 8, 2011

Chairman Bill Young --  Ranking Member Norm Dicks
Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations
H-140, the Capitol --  1016 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515 -- Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Young and Ranking Dicks:

As you prepare for the full committee markup of the fiscal year 2012 Defense Appropriations Act, we write to thank you for including $223 million for cancer research in the bill. We are hopeful that this life-saving cancer research funding as well as the funding for other medical research will remain in the bill after the full committee markup.

Should there be efforts during the full committee markup to strip funding for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) from the bill, the undersigned organizations respectfully request that you oppose such attempts and demonstrate your continued support for the funding.

Funding for the CDMRP is an opportunity to advance the best research to eradicate diseases and support the warfighter for the benefit of the American public. These research programs target diseases that impact directly the welfare of the American military, their families and the public. For example, CDMRP supports medical research on several forms of cancer (breast, blood, colorectal, melanoma, pediatric, brain, lung, ovarian, and prostate) and other diseases (like neurofibromatosis and bone marrow failure) that have lead to breakthroughs on nerve regeneration and traumatic brain injury. The CDMRP also funds research on Gulf War Illness, psychological health, spinal cord injury, and hearing and vision loss (which comprise a significant portion of current battlefield injuries). Other activities target diseases and conditions such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Scleroderma, ALS, and Autism.

The programs also represent a unique partnership among the public, Congress, and the military. The Department of Defense’s CDMRP supports high-quality medical research, concentrating its resources on research mechanisms which complement rather than duplicate the research approaches of the major funders of medical research in the United States. Although the diseases included in this program are diverse, the research on these disease types is often synergistic. For example, investigators increasingly look at the molecular profiles of cancer, often finding connections across cancers affecting different body sites. Advances or progress related to one cancer fuels the research on the other cancers in this program, and treatments initially approved for one cancer are routinely found to be effective in others.

The undersigned respectfully request your continued support for fiscal year 2012 funding of all programs within CDMRP.

Sincerely,

The ALS Association
American Academy of Dermatology Association
American Association for Cancer Research
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American College of Gastroenterology
American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
American Gastroenterological Association
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
The American Legion
Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation
Arkansas Ovarian Cancer Coalition
Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Association of American Cancer Institutes
Autism Speaks
Cancer Support Community
Caring Together, Inc.
Celma Mastry Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research Inc.
Charlene Miers Foundation for Cancer Research
Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy
Children's Tumor Foundation
Chris4Life
Colon Cancer Alliance
Colon Cancer STARS
Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance
CureSearch for Children's Cancer
Disabled American Veterans
Fight Colorectal Cancer
Friends of Cancer Research
FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered
Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Inc.
Get Your Rear In Gear
GRACE'S
HERA Women's Cancer Foundation
Hope for Heather
ICAN - International Cancer Advocacy Network
Intercultural Cancer Council Caucus
International Myeloma Foundation
Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation
Kidney Cancer Association
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Linda Young Ovarian Cancer Support Program, Benedictine Hospital
LIVESTRONG
Lung Cancer Alliance
Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.
Lymphoma Research Foundation
Malecare Cancer Support
Melanoma Research Foundation
Men's Health Network
Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Inc.
MIOCA (Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance)
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions (NASPCC)
National Brain Tumor Society
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
National Lung Cancer Partnership
National Marrow Donor Program
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Patient Advocate Foundation
Neurofibromatosis, Inc. Arizona
Neurofibromatosis, Inc. California
Neurofibromatosis Midwest
Neurofibromatosis, Inc., Network
Neurofibromatosis, Inc., Northeast
NF Inc. Minnesota
NF, Inc. Michigan
Nine Girls Ask
OASIS of Southern California
Olympus America Inc.
Oncology Nursing Society
Ovacome Ovarian Cancer Support and Advocacy of Tampa Bay
Ovar’Coming Together
Ovarian and Breast Cancer Alliance of Washington State
Ovarian Awareness of Kentucky
Ovarian Cancer Advocacy Alliance
Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Arizona
Ovarian Cancer Alliance of California
Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida
Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati
Ovarian Cancer Alliance of North Florida, Inc.
Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio
Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Oregon and Southwest Washington
Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Greater California
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
Ovarian Cancer Orange County Alliance
Prevent Cancer Foundation
Preventing Colorectal Cancer.Org
Prostate Cancer Foundation
Prostate Cancer International
Prostate Conditions Education Council
R.O.A.R.!
Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation, Inc.
Sarcoma Foundation of America
SHARE: Self-Help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer
Society for Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA)
Society of Gynecologic Oncology
The Teal Tea Foundation
Teal Tulips (formerly R.O.C.C.S.)
Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation
Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance
United Ostomy Associations of America
Us TOO International
Us TOO - Richmond , Va Group
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
Virginia Prostate Cancer Coalition
Washington State Neurofibromatosis Families
Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance
Women Against Prostate Cancer
Women’s Cancer Awareness Group
Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization
You'll Never Walk Alone
ZERO — The Project to End Prostate Cancer

CDMRP Survives House Approp’s Committee– but Many Programs Including GWI, ALS, MS Would be Cut by 20 Percent

 

(www.91outcomes.com) -- The full House Appropriations Committee met today to markup the FY12 Defense Appropriations bill.  

Despite many rumors that the acclaimed Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) would be eliminated, there were no CDMRP-related amendments during today’s markup.  It is certainly possible that all the Hill advocacy by dozens of health organizations over the last several weeks made the difference in preventing that.

However, under the House plan, there would be many changes to the previously successful CDMRP programs.  The final FY12 Defense Appropriations Bill as recommended by the Full Committee included the following:

1.      Several existing CDMRP programs would not be funded at all: most notably the sort of catch-all Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program; Neurofibromatosis; Pain Management; Global Deployment of the Force medical research; Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine; and SBIR to the core funded RDT&E.

2.      Two programs with the most direct military relevance would see 25% increased funding: Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health (increased from $100m to $125m); Orthopedic (from $24m to $30m).

3.      Three new programs were created: Hemorrhage Control; Restorative Transplantation; and, a Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program -- totaling $75m.

4.      The other 17 programs funded in FY11 would be continued but cut by 20%. Despite the most direct military relevance, these included Spinal Cord Injury, Vision, Gulf War Illness, and Alcohol and Substance Abuse Disorders.

FY11 appropriations first, followed by the FY 12 Full Appropriations Committee Bill Recommended Amounts:

1.      ALS $8,000 -- $6,400
2.      Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine $4,800 -- -0-
3.      Autism Research $6,400 -- $5,100
4.      Bone Marrow Failure Disease Research Program $4,000 -- $3,200
5.      Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy $4,000 -- $3,200
6.      Global HIV/AIDS Prevention $10,000 -- $8,000
7.      Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health $100,000 -- $125,000
8.      Global Deployment of the Force medical research funding -Department of Defense requested transfer to maintain full funding for the program $125,000 -- -0-
9.      Gulf War Illness Peer-Reviewed Research Program $8,000 -- $6,400
10.     Multiple Sclerosis $4,800 -- $3,200
11.     Peer-Reviewed Alzheimer Research $15,000 -- $12,000
12.     Peer-Reviewed Breast Cancer Research Program $150,000 -- $120,000
13.     Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program $16,000 -- $12,800
14.     Peer-Reviewed Lung Cancer Research Program $12,800 -- $10,200
15.     Peer-Reviewed Orthopedic Research Program $24,000 -- $30,000
16.     Peer-Reviewed Ovarian Cancer Research Program $20,000 -- $16,000
17.     Peer Reviewed Vision research in conjunction with the DoD Vision Center of Excellence $4,000 -- $3,200
18.     Peer-Reviewed Prostate Cancer Research Program $80,000 -- $64,000
19.     Peer-Reviewed Spinal Cord Research Program $12,000 -- $9,600
20.     Research in Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders $5,200 -- $4,500
21.     SBIR to the core funded RDT&E $1,200 -- -0-
22.     Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) $6,400 -- $5,100
23.     Pain Management Task Force Research $4,000 -- -0-
24.     Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program $50,000 -- -0-
25.     Neurofibromatosis Research $16,000 -- -0-

New for FY12:

1.      Hemorrhage Control -- $10,000
2.      Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program -- $50,000
3.      Restorative Transplantation Research Program -- $15,000

**UPDATE from Katie Weyforth Vanlandingham of Van Scoyoc Associates: Neurofibromatosis was funded (located in a different part of the bill than the other programs) and like most of the other CDMRP programs took at 20% cut from FY11. The Peer-reviewed medical research program is usually only funded in the Senate bill (and then ends up in the conference report) because they do not individually fund most of the CDMRP programs in their bill.
--

Anthony Hardie
Madison, Wis.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Study Says Sleep Key to Cognitive Performance

(91outcomes.com) – A new study published in the current edition of the Journal of Sleep Research shows that proper sleep has a profound impact on the ability to learn.

Disturbed or dysfunctional sleep is a commonly reported symptom of Gulf War Illness (GWI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) –- relatively common disorders among veterans of the last two decades of military service.

According to a USA Today article by Randy Dotinga about the study:

The research doesn't prove that sleep will help you learn more effectively. But it does provide more evidence that your brain doesn't just rest and dream when you're asleep, said study co-author Rebecca Spencer, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Dotinga’s article about the study suggests that important integration of learning takes place during sleep:

Sleep researcher Michael Anch, an associate professor at Saint Louis University, said the study "emphasizes the growing awareness of the importance of sleep for optimal cognitive functioning."

"This study is consistent with other studies suggesting that sleep allows you to integrate learned information from various brain regions, which is not allowable by instant decisions," Anch said. "This gives credence to the notion that if you have a decision to make, sleep on it!"

----------------------

---Anthony Hardie, Madison, Wis.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gulf War Health Research Meetings to be Held in Wash., DC June 27-28

(91outcomes.com) – The next meeting of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (RAC-GWVI) will be held in Washington, DC on June 27-28, 2011 at the VA central office at 811 Vermont Ave., NW. 

Among the presenters are Dr. Nancy Klimas, one of the world’s leading researchers on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) and Dr. Lea Steele, past Scientific Director of the RAC-GWVI and the principal author of the groundbreaking 2008 RAC Report demonstrating that GWI is real.  Both Klimas and Steele are among the world’s leading researchers on GWI.

Also presenting is Dr. Beatrice Golomb, a renowned researcher and clinician and the first Scientific Director of the RAC-GWVI, who will be presenting the results of the first positive treatment trial for Gulf War Illness.  The study, funded by the acclaimed Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), finds that Coenzyme Q10 is effective at the mitochondrial level in helping to relieve some GWI symptoms.

Other distinguished presenters include:  Dr. Polly Matzinger of the National Institutes of Health, NIAID; Dr. Gordon Broderick of the University of Alberta, who works closely with Dr. Klimas and Dr. Steele; and, Dr. Scott Panter of the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

VA officials from the Office of Research and Development will also be presenting, including Dr. Timothy O’Leary, Dr. William Goldberg, and
Dr. Joseph Salvatore

A committee discussion on the new comprehensive plan for GWI research, which has been developed following a conference with the VA Gulf War Steering Committee, will take up most of the second day of the RAC-GWVI’s meetings.

The tentative RAC-GWVI agenda is as follows.  All meetings are open to the public and public input is both welcome and encouraged during the scheduled public input sessions on both days of the meetings.

The final agenda will be posted at:  http://www.va.gov/RAC-GWVI/Meetings.asp 

---------------


Monday, June 27, 2011

Sonny Montgomery Conference Room, 2nd Floor, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, Washington, DC

8:00 – 8:30 Informal gathering, coffee

8:30 – 8:35 Welcome, introductory remarks, Mr. Jim Binns, Chairman, RAC-GWVI

8:35 – 9:30 Altered immune functions in Gulf War illness and potential therapies, Dr. Nancy Klimas, Miami VA Medical Center

9:30 -10:30 From Cytokines to Cells to Gene Expression: An Integrative Approach to the Study of Gulf War illness, Dr. Gordon Broderick, University of Alberta

10:30 – 10:45 Break

10:45 – 11:45 The Danger Model of innate immune system activation, Dr. Polly Matzinger, National Institutes of Health, NIAID

11:45 – 12:30 Intranasal administration of toxicants and therapeutics, Dr. Scott Panter, San Francisco VA Medical Center

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 2:15 Complex factors in the etiology of Gulf War Illness, Dr. Lea Steele, RAC-GWVI

2:15 – 3:00 Co-Enzyme Q10 treatment trial for Gulf War illness, Dr. Beatrice Golomb,  RAC-GWVI

3:00 – 3:45 Gulf War Pre-911 Report overview, Mr. Joseph Salvatore, VA Office of Policy and Planning

3:45 – 4:00 Break

4:00 - 4:30 Federal Advisory Committee Ethics Training, Mr. Jonathan Gurland, VA

4:30 – 5:00 Update of VA Gulf War research funding, Dr. William Goldberg, VA Office of Research and development

5:00 – 5:30 Public comment

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

***PLEASE NOTE DIFFERENT MEETING LOCATION***
Lafayette Building, 811 Vermont Ave., NW, Room 1143, Washington, DC

8:00 – 8:30 Informal gathering, coffee

8:30 - 9:30 Update of VA Gulf War Cooperative  Studies, Dr. Timothy O’Leary, VA Office of Research and development

9:30 – 10:15 Committee Discussion: VA Gulf War Comprehensive Research Strategy, led by Mr. Jim Binns, Chairman, Dr. Roberta White, Scientific Director, RAC-GWVI

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 12:00 Committee Discussion (continued): VA Gulf War Comprehensive Research Strategy

12:00 – 12:30 Public comment

12:30 Adjourn

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--Anthony Hardie, Madison, Wis.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New CDMRP Study Shows Brain Blast Injuries Differ from Concussions, May be New Form of Disease

(91outcomes.com) -- A new study by Dr. Christine McDonald and colleagues funded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) and published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has found that brain injuries from blasts differ from athletic and other concussions, are more extensive and subtle than previously known, and may even constitute an entirely new disease.

While blast injuries are the “signature” wound of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, like the recognition of PTSD after the Vietnam War, new recognition of brain blast injuries has the potential to explain some military service members’ unexplained illnesses going back as far back in history as high explosives have existed.

According to an article by Gregg Zaroya -- a respected military writer with USA Today (itself a world leader in reporting military and veterans news often overlooked by other publications) -- the McDonald study determined the following:

Mild brain injuries from an explosion  appear to be different and more extensive than mild brain injuries that result from playing sports.

The study looked specifically at how blasts damage the brain's wiring. Researchers found neural pathways disrupted in areas of the brain that are not affected in civilian cases of mild brain injury — such as from sports injuries or car accidents.

These were areas of the brain regulating emotions and impulsive behavior and governing coordination, movement, organization and planning, says David Brody, a neurologist who co-authored the study.

The axonal brain injuries  -- damage at the level of the basic nerve cell building block of the brain and nervous system -- were not visible using standard CT scans.  However, using research-oriented DTI scanning, the damage at the level of the axons was clearly visible and confirmed the researchers’ hypothesis.

According to a New York Times article about the study by health writer Denise Grady:

This study “may help explain why some military personnel exposed to blasts have symptoms of brain injury even though their CT and M.R.I. scans look normal.”

The study is yet another important success for the veteran-acclaimed Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), which also funds treatment studies for Gulf War Illness (GWI) through annual lobbying efforts of veterans’ advocates with Congress, which must provide funding each year for the various CDMRP programs.

--Anthony Hardie, Madison, Wis.