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Military Health System Studies Inventory Tool

Welcome to the Military Health System Studies Inventory Tool (MSIT). Military Health System (MHS) data are used by Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, and academic health professionals and scientists to implement health care studies. These studies reflect the MHS interest to rigorously assess and improve our beneficiaries’ access to the high quality health care services they need. Additionally, these studies are frequently used to develop or improve MHS policy and often adopt useful, relevant comparisons to the national health care experience.

The MSIT allows easy review of recent studies that are either conducted or sponsored by the MHS, or accomplished using datasets developed or maintained by the Defense Health Agency for administrative, operational, or research purposes. The studies within this website represent important contributions of the MHS to the national health care dialogue and reflect our capacity to tackle the challenging issues needed to support evidence-informed health policy. Thank you for your interest in them.

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Third-Party Evaluation: A Review of Dietary Supplements Dispensed by Military Treatment Facilities From 2007 to 2011.

Study

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Third-party certification/verification of dietary supplements (DS), although not mainstream, is one way to help ensure high-quality products. In the medical setting, physicians may prescribe DS to correct a deficiency or improve a health care outcome, and they want products of a certain standard of quality, free of adulteration/contamination. OBJECTIVE: We reviewed DS dispensed from all Department of Defense military treatment facilities over a 5-year period to determine which products had been third-party reviewed and certified/verified. METHODS: By using product name, manufacturer, and/or National Drug Codes, we examined product listings on the websites of three independent-evaluating organizations. RESULTS: Over 1.5 million dietary supplement prescriptions consisting of 753 different products were dispensed from 2007 through 2011. Less than 3.6% of the products examined were third-party certified/verified by any of the three most well-known evaluation organizations: 19 were verified by United States Pharmacopeial Convention; 9 products were reviewed and 8 certified by ConsumerLab; and none of the products were certified by NSF International. CONCLUSION: Most DS dispensed by military treatment facilities are not reviewed by a third party. This is not unexpected, as third party certification is not yet mainstream. However, one way to reduce potential hazards and exposure to unsafe products is to encourage use of supplements that have third-party certification/verification.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: July 01, 2015
  • Citation: Jones DR, Kasper KB, Deuster PA. Third-Party Evaluation: A Review of Dietary Supplements Dispensed by Military Treatment Facilities From 2007 to 2011. Mil Med. 2015 Jul;180(7):737-41.

Respiratory Infections in the U.S. Military: Recent Experience and Control.

Study

Abstract

This comprehensive review outlines the impact of military-relevant respiratory infections, with special attention to recruit training environments, influenza pandemics in 1918 to 1919 and 2009 to 2010, and peacetime operations and conflicts in the past 25 years. Outbreaks and epidemiologic investigations of viral and bacterial infections among high-risk groups are presented, including (i) experience by recruits at training centers, (ii) impact on advanced trainees in special settings, (iii) morbidity sustained by shipboard personnel at sea, and (iv) experience of deployed personnel. Utilizing a pathogen-by-pathogen approach, we examine (i) epidemiology, (ii) impact in terms of morbidity and operational readiness, (iii) clinical presentation and outbreak potential, (iv) diagnostic modalities, (v) treatment approaches, and (vi) vaccine and other control measures. We also outline military-specific initiatives in (i) surveillance, (ii) vaccine development and policy, (iii) novel influenza and coronavirus diagnostic test development and surveillance methods, (iv) influenza virus transmission and severity prediction modeling efforts, and (v) evaluation and implementation of nonvaccine, nonpharmacologic interventions.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: July 01, 2015
  • Citation: Sanchez JL, Cooper MJ, Myers CA, Cummings JF, Vest KG, Russell KL, Sanchez JL, Hiser MJ, Gaydos CA. Respiratory Infections in the U.S. Military: Recent Experience and Control. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2015 Jul;28(3):743-800.

Self-administration of intranasal influenza vaccine: Immunogenicity and volunteer acceptance. Vaccine. 2015 Jul 31;33(32):3894-9.

Study

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In outbreak settings, mass vaccination strategies could maximize health protection of military personnel. Self-administration of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) may be a means to vaccinate large numbers of people and achieve deployment readiness while sparing the use of human resources. METHODS: A phase IV, open-label, randomized controlled trial evaluating the immunogenicity and acceptance of self-administered (SA) LAIV was conducted from 2012 to 2014. SA subjects were randomized to either individual self-administration or self-administration in a group setting. Control randomized subjects received healthcare worker-administered (HCWA) LAIV. Anti-hemagglutinin (HAI) antibody concentrations were measured pre- and post-vaccination. The primary endpoint was immunogenicity non-inferiority between SA and HCWA groups. Subjects were surveyed on preferred administration method. RESULTS: A total of 1077 subjects consented and were randomized (529 SA, 548 HCWA). Subject characteristics were very similar between groups, though SA subjects were younger, more likely to be white and on active duty. The per-protocol analysis included 1024 subjects (501 SA, 523 HCWA). Post-vaccination geometric mean titers by vaccine strain and by study group (HCWA vs. SA) were: A/H1N1 (45.8 vs. 48.7, respectively; p=0.43), A/H3N2 (45.5 vs. 46.4; p=0.80), B/Yamagata (17.2 vs. 17.8; p=0.55). Seroresponses to A components were high (∼67%), while seroresponses to B components were lower (∼25%). Seroresponse did not differ by administration method. Baseline preference for administration method was similar between groups, with the majority in each group expressing no preference. At follow-up, the majority (64%) of SA subjects preferred SA vaccine. CONCLUSIONS: LAIV immunogenicity was similar for HCWA and SA vaccines. SA was well-tolerated and preferred to HCWA among those who performed SA.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Agency, office or organization under authority of the Sec Def (not affiliated to Army, Navy, or Air Force)
  • Release Date/Publication: July 01, 2015
  • Citation: Burgess TH, et. al.,

Establishment of Health Utility Indices for Post-Infectious Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders in Active Duty US Military.

Study

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Knowledge of disease burden attributable to functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGD) in travelers is lacking, despite the high incidence of travelers' diarrhea (TD) associated with increased FGD risk. One tool for assessing the impact of disease on health-related quality of life is the health utility index (HUI), which values health states based on preferential health outcomes. Health utilities can be used as preference weights in the estimation of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). METHODS: Six months following travel to Egypt or Turkey, 120 US military personnel completed a survey on TD during deployment, health-related quality of life (SF-36), and the onset of functional bowel disorders (Rome II). Elements from the SF-36 were used to develop SF-6D values, which were combined with health state valuations to enable calculation of HUI scores for each subject. Mean index scores were compared across functional outcomes, specific symptoms, and demographic profiles. RESULTS: The presence of FGD significantly reduced index scores, with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and dyspepsia showing the greatest impact (-0.17 and -0.19, respectively) compared with those with no FGD (p < 0.05). Importantly, however, several individuals met multiple FGD outcome definitions. Additionally, a number of symptoms associated with abnormal bowel habits and abdominal pain were associated with reduced index scores regardless of outcome. CONCLUSION: FGD are associated with significant morbidity as assessed by HUIs. Given the strong link between TD and FGD as well as the large number of travelers from the developed to the developing world, additional study is needed to further understand this association and efforts aimed at primary disease prevention are warranted. Published 2015. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Agency, office or organization under authority of the Sec Def (not affiliated to Army, Navy, or Air Force)
  • Release Date/Publication: July 01, 2015
  • Citation: Porter CK, et. al., Establishment of Health Utility Indices for Post-Infectious Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders in Active Duty US Military. J Travel Med. 2015 Jul-Aug;22(4):237-41.

Group Prenatal Care Outcomes in a Military Population: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate pregnancy outcomes in Centering Pregnancy patients. METHODS: This was an IRB-approved retrospective cohort study from November 2009 to January 2013 involving 202 Centering Pregnancy patients and 202 Certified Nurse Midwife patients. The primary outcome was mean gestational age at time of delivery. Secondary outcomes included cesarean and operative vaginal delivery rate, triage visit frequency, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit admission rate, 1 and 5 minute APGAR scores, birth weight, breastfeeding rate at discharge and 6 weeks postpartum, third and fourth degree laceration rate, weight gain in pregnancy, and excessive weight gain rate. RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference in any obstetric outcome including preterm delivery rate. Centering Pregnancy patients were more likely to be active duty (52.0 vs. 35.6%, p = 0.001), younger (24.8 vs. 26.3 years old, p < 0.001), and nulliparous (75.2 vs. 56.9%, p < 0.001). There was a statistically significant increase in triage visit frequency ≥ 6 for Centering Pregnancy patients (11.9% vs. 8.9%, p = 0.011). CONCLUSION: There were no clinically significant differences in the primary or secondary outcomes. Significant cost savings could be realized by expanding Centering Pregnancy in the military health system.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: July 01, 2015
  • Citation: Walton RB, Shaffer S, Heaton J. Group Prenatal Care Outcomes in a Military Population: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Mil Med. 2015 Jul;180(7):825-9.

VA Vascular Injury Study (VAVIS): VA-DoD extremity injury outcomes collaboration.

Study

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Limb injuries comprise 50-60% of U.S. Service member's casualties of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Combat-related vascular injuries are present in 12% of this cohort, a rate 5 times higher than in prior wars. Improvements in medical and surgical trauma care, including initial in-theatre limb salvage approaches (IILS) have resulted in improved survival and fewer amputations, however, the long-term outcomes such as morbidity, functional decline, and risk for late amputation of salvaged limbs using current process of care have not been studied. The long-term care of these injured warfighters poses a significant challenge to the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). METHODS/DESIGN: The VA Vascular Injury Study (VAVIS): VA-DoD Extremity Injury Outcomes Collaborative, funded by the VA, Health Services Research and Development Service, is a longitudinal cohort study of Veterans with vascular extremity injuries. Enrollment will begin April, 2015 and continue for 3 years. Individuals with a validated extremity vascular injury in the Department of Defense Trauma Registry will be contacted and will complete a set of validated demographic, social, behavioral, and functional status measures during interview and online/ mailed survey. Primary outcome measures will: 1) Compare injury, demographic and geospatial characteristics of patients with IILS and identify late vascular surgery related limb complications and health care utilization in Veterans receiving VA vs. non-VA care, 2) Characterize the preventive services received by individuals with vascular repair and related outcomes, and 3) Describe patient-reported functional outcomes in Veterans with traumatic vascular limb injuries. DISCUSSION: This study will provide key information about the current process of care for Active Duty Service members and Veterans with polytrauma/vascular injuries at risk for persistent morbidity and late amputation. The results of this study will be the first step for clinicians in VA and military settings to generate evidence-based treatment and care approaches to these injuries. It will identify areas where rehabilitation medicine and vascular specialty care or telehealth options are needed to allow for better planning, resource utilization, and improved DoD-to-VA care transitions.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Government, academic, or industry source other than Federal Government
  • Release Date/Publication: February 01, 2015
  • Citation: Shireman PK, Rasmussen TE, Jaramillo CA, Pugh MJ. VA Vascular Injury Study (VAVIS): VA-DoD extremity injury outcomes collaboration. BMC Surg. 2015 Feb 3;15:13. doi: 10.1186/1471-2482-15-13.

Using base rates of low scores to interpret the ANAM4 TBI-MIL battery following mild traumatic brain injury.

Study

Abstract

Base rates of low ANAM4 TBI-MIL scores were calculated in a convenience sample of 733 healthy male active duty soldiers using available military reference values for the following cutoffs: ≤2nd percentile (2 SDs), ≤5th percentile, <10th percentile, and <16th percentile (1 SD). Rates of low scores were also calculated in 56 active duty male soldiers who sustained an mTBI an average of 23 days (SD = 36.1) prior. 22.0% of the healthy sample and 51.8% of the mTBI sample had two or more scores below 1 SD (i.e., 16th percentile). 18.8% of the healthy sample and 44.6% of the mTBI sample had one or more scores ≤5th percentile. Rates of low scores in the healthy sample were influenced by cutoffs and race/ethnicity. Importantly, some healthy soldiers obtain at least one low score on ANAM4. These base rate analyses can improve the methodology for interpreting ANAM4 performance in clinical practice and research.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: February 01, 2015
  • Citation: Ivins BJ, Lange RT, Cole WR, Kane R, Schwab KA, Iverson GL. Using base rates of low scores to interpret the ANAM4 TBI-MIL battery following mild traumatic brain injury. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2015 Feb;30(1):26-38.

Deployment-related psychiatric and behavioral conditions and their association with functional disability in OEF/OIF/OND veterans.

Study

Abstract

Understanding the factors that influence veterans' functional outcome after deployment is critical to provide appropriately targeted care. Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been related to disability, but other psychiatric and behavioral conditions are not as well examined. We investigated the impact of deployment-related psychiatric and behavioral conditions on disability among 255 OEF/OIF/OND service members and veterans. Structured clinical interviews assessed TBI and the psychiatric conditions of depression, PTSD, anxiety, and substance use. Self-report questionnaires assessed disability and the behavioral conditions of sleep disturbance and pain. Over 90% of participants had a psychiatric and/or behavioral condition, with approximately half presenting with ≥ 3 conditions. Exploratory factor analysis revealed 4 clinically relevant psychiatric and behavioral factors which accounted for 76.9% of the variance: (a) depression, PTSD, and military mTBI (deployment trauma factor); (b) pain and sleep (somatic factor); (c) anxiety disorders, other than PTSD (anxiety factor); and (d) substance abuse or dependence (substance use factor). Individuals with the conditions comprising the deployment trauma factor were more likely to be substantially disabled than individuals with depression and PTSD, but no military mTBI, OR = 3.52; 95% CI [1.09, 11.37]. Depression, PTSD, and a history of military mTBI may comprise an especially harmful combination associated with high risk for substantial disability.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: February 01, 2015
  • Citation: Lippa SM, Fonda JR, Fortier CB, Amick MA, Kenna A, Milberg WP, McGlinchey RE. Deployment-related psychiatric and behavioral conditions and their association with functional disability in OEF/OIF/OND veterans. J Trauma Stress. 2015 Feb;28(1):25-33.

Overweight and obesity trends among active duty military personnel: a 13-year perspective.

Study

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The U.S. population has shown increasing rates of overweight and obesity in recent years, but similar analyses do not exist for U.S. military personnel. It is important to understand these patterns in the military because of their impact on fitness and readiness. PURPOSE: To assess prevalence and trends in overweight/obesity among U.S. service members and to examine the associations of sociodemographic characteristics, exercise, depression, and substance use with these patterns. METHODS: Analyses performed in 2013 used five large population-based health-related behavior surveys conducted from 1995 to 2008. Main outcome measures were overweight and obesity among active duty military personnel based on BMI. RESULTS: Combined overweight and obesity (BMI≥25) increased from 50.6% in 1995 to 60.8% in 2008, primarily driven by the rise in obesity (BMI≥30) from 5.0% to 12.7%. For overweight, military women showed the largest increase. For obesity, all sociodemographic groups showed significant increases, with the largest among warrant officers, senior enlisted personnel, and people aged 36-45 years. Adjusted multinomial logit analyses found that service members aged 26 years and older, men, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics, enlisted personnel, married personnel, and heavy drinkers had the highest risk both for overweight and obesity. CONCLUSIONS: Combined overweight and obesity in active duty personnel rose to more than 60% between 1995 and 2008, primarily because of increased obesity. The high prevalence of overweight and obesity needs attention and has implications for Department of Defense efforts to improve the health, fitness, readiness, and quality of life of the Active Forces.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Undetermined
  • Sponsoring Office:
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: February 01, 2015
  • Citation: Reyes-Guzman CM, Bray RM, Forman-Hoffman VL, Williams J. Overweight and obesity trends among active duty military personnel: a 13-year perspective. Am J Prev Med. 2015 Feb;48(2):145-53.

Impact of parents' wartime military deployment and injury on young children's safety and mental health.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Children are at risk for adverse outcomes during parental military deployments. We aim to determine the impact of parental deployment and combat injury on young children's postdeployment mental health, injuries, and maltreatment. METHOD: This is a population-based, retrospective cohort study of young children of active duty military parents during fiscal years (FY) 2006 to 2007, a high deployment period. A total of 487,460 children, 3 to 8 years of age, who received Military Health System care, were included. The relative rates of mental health, injury, and child maltreatment visits of children whose parents deployed and children of combat-injured parents were compared to children unexposed to parental deployment. RESULTS: Of the included children, 58,479 (12%) had a parent deploy, and 5,405 (1%) had a parent injured during deployment. Relative to children whose parents did not deploy, children of deployed and combat-injured parents, respectively, had additional visits for mental health diagnoses (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 1.09 [95% CI = 1.02-1.17], IRR = 1.67 [95% CI = 1.47-1.89]), injuries (IRR = 1.07 [95% CI = 1.04-1.09], IRR = 1.24 [95% CI = 1.17-1.32]), and child maltreatment (IRR = 1.21 [95% CI = 1.11-1.32], IRR 2.30 = [95% CI 2.02-2.61]) postdeployment. CONCLUSION: Young children of deployed and combat-injured military parents have more postdeployment visits for mental health, injuries, and child maltreatment. Mental health problems, injuries, and maltreatment after a parent's return from deployment are amplified in children of combat-injured parents. Increased preventive and intervention services are needed for young children as parents return from deployments. Child health and mental health providers are crucial to effective identification of these at-risk children to ensure effective care provision

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: April 01, 2015
  • Citation: Hisle-Gorman E, Harrington D, Nylund CM, Tercyak KP, Anthony BJ, Gorman GH. Impact of parents' wartime military deployment and injury on young children's safety and mental health. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2015 Apr;54(4):294-301.

Physical fitness and injury reporting among active duty and National Guard/Reserve women: associations with risk and lifestyle factors.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: As more women enter the military, it is important to understand how different risks and lifestyle factors influence physical fitness and injury among women in both active duty (AD) and National Guard/Reserve (NG/R). Women in military service are less fit and more likely to suffer musculoskeletal injuries during physical training than men. They also use more medical care during deployment than men. Using data from the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Global Assessment Tool 2.0 (GAT 2.0), self-reported health and lifestyle and behavioral risk factors were analyzed in nondeployed Army personnel, with the goals of examining (1) service-component differences across traditional risk and lifestyle factors, and (2) correlates of physical performance and physical activity-related injury. METHODS: Self-report GAT 2.0 data included health risk factors (overall perceived health, sleep, diet, tobacco and alcohol use), self-reported health metrics (height, weight, Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) scores), and history of physical activity-related injury. The GAT 2.0 was completed by 1,322 AD and 1,033 NG/R women, and APFT data were available for a subsample of 605 AD and 582 NG/R women. RESULTS: Initial analyses of GAT 2.0 data indicated that AD had higher rates of fair/poor perceived health, poor sleep, and unhealthy diet compared to NG/R women. However, AD women had a lower APFT fail rate (8%) than NG (27%) and R (28%). Active duty women were more likely to experience a physical injury in the past 6 months (38%) than NG (19%) and R (22%) women, and more likely to seek medical care than NG/R women. Across all service components, predictive factors for APFT failure included high body mass index (BMI), fair/poor health, and unhealthy diet. Predictive factors for physical injury included high BMI, fair/poor health, and binge drinking. CONCLUSION: Our analyses suggest that AD women Soldiers are more physically fit than NG/R women Soldiers, which is accompanied by a greater prevalence of physical activity-related injuries. As women's roles expand into combat military occupation specialties, a thorough understanding of service component differences will be critical to inform training programs, mitigate physical injury, and enhance force health protection and readiness.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: April 01, 2015
  • Citation: Kazman JB, de la Motte S, Bramhall EM, Purvis DL, Deuster PA. Physical fitness and injury reporting among active duty and National Guard/Reserve women: associations with risk and lifestyle factors. US Army Med Dep J. 2015 Apr-Jun:49-57

Overview of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol misuse among active duty service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, self-report and diagnosis.

Study

Abstract

Previous studies have found deployment to combat areas to be associated with an increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and alcohol abuse, but many previous studies were limited by samples that were not representative of the deployed military as a whole. This study presents an overview of these three mental health problems associated with deployment among Air Force, Army, Marine Corp, and Navy service members returning from deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan between January 2007 and March 2008. With postdeployment health data on over 50,000 service men and women, including diagnostic information, we were able to estimate prevalence of those who screened positive for risk of each disorder in self-report data at two time points, as well as prevalence of diagnoses received during health care encounters within the military health care system. The prevalence ranges of the three disorders were consistent with previous studies using similar measures, but service members in the Navy had higher rates of screening positive for all three disorders and higher prevalence of depression and PTSD diagnoses compared to the other branches. Further, PTSD risk was higher for service members returning from Afghanistan compared to Iraq, in contrast to previous findings.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: April 01, 2015
  • Citation: Mustillo SA, et al., Overview of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol misuse among active duty service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, self-report and diagnosis. Mil Med. 2015 Apr;180(4):419-27

Women and exertional heat illness: identification of gender specific risk factors.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: With the expanding role of women into previously closed combat military occupational specialties, women will likely be exposed more to challenging and extreme conditions. Physical work or exercise in extreme environments could increase the risk for exertional heat illness (EHI) and exertional heat stroke (EHS), the most severe type of EHI. Although men have higher rates of EHS than women, women have slightly higher rates of other EHI. Women may respond differently to exertion in the heat than men, as they typically have higher percentage of body fat (BF%) and lower aerobic power. Further, published pilot-data using the Israeli heat tolerance test (HTT) indicate that women are more likely to be classified as heat intolerant than men. The objectives of the present study were to (1) compare male and female classification patterns of heat tolerance, and (2) identify EHI risk factors that might account for the relationship between heat tolerance classification and sex. METHODS: Fifty-five male and 20 female participants were recruited from military and university communities to participate in a standardized HTT. Subjects underwent measures to calculate anthropometric variables (BF%, body surface area, and waist circumference), a maximal oxygen uptake test to assess aerobic power (VO₂max), and a standardized HTT, which consisted of treadmill walking at 5 km/h at a 2% grade for 120 minutes at 40°C and 40% relative humidity. Heat intolerance was defined as attaining a maximum heart rate (HR) greater than 150 bpm or a core body temperature (Tc) more than 38.5°C. Separate hierarchical regressions were conducted using categorical (heat tolerant/intolerant) and continuous (physiological strain index, maximum HR, Tc) HTT outcomes. Risk factors were identified with and without controlling for sex. RESULTS: Women were 3.7 (95% CI, 1.21-11.24) times more likely to be heat intolerant than men (χ²=6.85, P<.01). Compared to men, women had significantly higher BF% and lower body surface area, waist circumference, and VO₂max. All heat intolerant participants had lower VO₂max and higher BF% than those who were classified as heat tolerant. When VO₂max and BF% were entered into regression equations to predict HTT outcomes, sex became nonsignificant; VO₂max predicted maximum HR and physiological strain index after controlling for sex. CONCLUSION: The present study found that differences between men and women in heat tolerance classification are largely explained by VO₂max. The higher rates of heat intolerance among women likely correlate with higher EHI risk, and underscore the need to understand the physiological and thermoregulatory differences between men and women. As lower aerobic power is a major risk factor for EHI, maximizing the aerobic power of women will be critical to force health protection and readiness as they integrate into combat military occupational specialties.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: April 01, 2015
  • Citation: Kazman JB, Purvis DL, Heled Y, Lisman P, Atias D, Van Arsdale S, Deuster PA. Women and exertional heat illness: identification of gender specific risk factors. US Army Med Dep J. 2015 Apr-Jun:58-66.

Low back pain, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010-2014.

Study

Abstract

Low back pain (LBP) is a common cause of disability, lost worker productivity, and healthcare costs in both military and civilian populations. During the 5-year surveillance period of this analysis, the LBP diagnoses of interest were associated with more than 6 million outpatient healthcare encounters and more than 25,000 hospitalizations among active component service members. Annual numbers of outpatient encounters for LBP diagnoses increased 34% during 2010-2014. Annual numbers of inpatient encounters decreased during the period. Incidence rates were lowest among the youngest service members and increased with advancing age. Of all service members ever given a LBP diagnosis during the surveillance period, 91% were diagnosed at least once with a condition in the broad category "nonspecific back pain." The most common specific diagnosis during the surveillance period was lumbago. The discussion covers the importance of LBP in the military, initiatives to lower the incidence of, and enhance the care of, LBP, and methodologic limitations to the analysis.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: November 01, 2015
  • Citation: Clark LL, Hu Z. Low back pain, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010-2014. MSMR. 2015 Dec;22(12):8-11.

A Retrospective Review of Screening Labs for Medical Clearance in a Military Population.

Study

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE: We determine the incidence of clinically significant findings within mandatory screening studies during medical clearance of patients for psychiatric care. METHODS: This is a retrospective review of emergency department patients medically cleared for psychiatric care over 11 months. All patients evaluated for behavioral health-related issues are recorded on a daily report which was used to locate subjects. Laboratory studies were reviewed during that visit for the presence of abnormalities. If abnormalities were noted, the individual chart was reviewed. Our primary outcome was the incidence of clinically significant findings that warranted admission to a medical or surgical unit. RESULTS: 204 psychiatric patient reports were reviewed. 191 of these patients had screening studies performed. Seven patients were admitted to a nonpsychiatric unit. These admissions were all for elevated ethanol levels. These patients were admitted until their ethanol level decreased, and then transferred to a psychiatric facility. The total screening lab cost during this study period was $27,893. CONCLUSIONS: Routine screening has limited utility in this population and comes at significant cost. Further research should be directed to determine which patients may benefit from screening studies.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Undetermined
  • Release Date/Publication: November 01, 2015
  • Citation: Schauer SG, Goolsby CA. A Retrospective Review of Screening Labs for Medical Clearance in a Military Population. Mil Med. 2015 Nov;180(11):1128-31.
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