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Studies

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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Stress and Resilience in Military Mortuary Workers: Care of the Dead From Battlefield to Home.

Study

Abstract

The death of a military service member in war provokes feelings of distress and pride in mortuary workers who process the remains. To further understand their reactions, the authors interviewed 34 military and civilian personnel to learn more about their work stresses and rewards. They review stresses of anticipation, exposure, and experience in handling the dead and explore the personal, supervisory, and leadership strategies to reduce negative effects and promote personal growth. These results can be applied to many other situations requiring planning, implementing, and supervising mortuary operations involving mass death.

  • 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: August 01, 2014
  • Citation: Flynn BW, McCarroll JE, Biggs QM. Stress and Resilience in Military Mortuary Workers: Care of the Dead From Battlefield to Home. Death Stud. 2014 Aug 20:1-7.

Opiate-related dependence/abuse and PTSD exposure among the active-component U.S. military, 2001 to 2008.

Study

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Over the past 5 years, diagnoses for opiate abuse or dependency and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have increased across all U.S. military services. Moreover, in the United States, opiate prescription dependence and abuse has now surpassed all other illicit drugs of abuse with the exception of marijuana. Some research indicates that PTSD is predictive of substance dependence and abuse, while other research suggests that substance dependence and abuse may lead to events that trigger PTSD. This dichotomy has not been extensively explored within a military population. METHODS: Using conditional multiple logistic regression analysis, a matched case-control study with 18,606 active-component U.S. military service members was conducted to examine the relationship between opiate dependence or abuse and PTSD. RESULTS: Among the 18,606 service members included in the analysis, 21% were cases and 79% were controls. Thirteen percent of service members with substance dependence or abuse diagnosis had a prior PTSD diagnosis compared to 1% of controls. After, adjusting for sociodemographic and military characteristics, the odds of having a prior diagnosis of PTSD was 28 (95% CI: 21.24-37.78) times greater for service members with opiate abuse/dependency compared to controls. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest active duty military personnel diagnosed with PTSD should be closely monitored to reduce the likelihood of future morbidity because of opiate dependence or abuse.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Sponsoring Office: Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Army
  • Release Date/Publication: August 01, 2014
  • Citation: Dabbs C, Watkins EY, Fink DS, Eick-Cost A, Millikan AM. Opiate-related dependence/abuse and PTSD exposure among the active-component U.S. military, 2001 to 2008. Mil Med. 2014 Aug;179(8):885-90.

Three-year outcome following moderate-to-severe TBI in U.S. military service members: a descriptive cross-sectional study.

Study

Abstract

This study examined the prospective course of neurobehavioral symptom reporting and health-related quality of life within the first 3 years following moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Participants were 52 U.S. service members who were evaluated following a moderate-to-severe TBI sustained in the combat theater during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom (90.4%), or from other noncombat-related incidents. Participants completed the Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-Checklist within 3 months postinjury, and at least one follow-up telephone interview at 12 (n = 27), 24 (n = 31), or 36 months (n = 22) postinjury. Approximately half of the sample (41.9%-63.0%) reported "persistent" symptoms from baseline to follow-up. A substantial minority also "improved" (22.2%-31.8%) or "developed" new symptoms (3.7%-16.1%). Ongoing physical and mental health problems were also reported. The number of service members receiving mental health treatment significantly reduced between 12 and 36 months postinjury (48.1%-18.2%), while complaints of bodily pain significantly increased (40.7%-68.2%). Despite ongoing symptom reporting, few reported suicidal/homicidal ideation (6.5%-9.1%), and a substantial majority reported good/excellent health status (74.1%-90.9%) and satisfaction with their life (81.5%-90.9%). Continued support and care for all service members who sustain a combat-related moderate-to-severe TBI is recommended, regardless of the presence or absence of symptom reporting within the first few months postinjury.

  • 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: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: August 01, 2014
  • Citation: Brickell TA, Lange RT, French LM. Three-year outcome following moderate-to-severe TBI in U.S. military service members: a descriptive cross-sectional study. Mil Med. 2014 Aug;179(8):839-48.

Health-related quality of life within the first 5 years following military-related concurrent mild traumatic brain injury and polytrauma.

Study

Abstract

This study examined health-related quality of life within the first 5 years following concurrent mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) and polytrauma. Participants were 167 U.S. service members who had sustained a MTBI who had completed a brief neurobehavioral evaluation within 3 months postinjury and at least one telephone follow-up interview at 6 (n = 46), 12 (n = 89), 24 (n = 54), 36 (n = 42), 48 (n = 30) or 60 months (n = 25) postinjury. Within the first 5 years postinjury, service members reported ongoing headaches (67.4% to 92.0%), bodily pain (66.7% to 88.9%), medication use (71.7% to 92.0%), mental health treatment (28.3% to 60.0%), and the need for help with daily activities (18.5% to 40.0%). Problematic alcohol consumption was common within the first 24 months postinjury (23.9% to 29.2%). Many service members were working for pay (36.0% to 70.8%) though many reported a decline in work quality (16.0% to 30.4%). Despite ongoing symptom reporting, many service members reported that their medications were effective (43.3% to 80.0%), good/excellent health status (68.0% to 80.0%), and life satisfaction (79.6% to 90.5%). A minority reported suicidal or homicidal ideation (5.6% to 14.8%). Recovery from MTBI in a military setting is complex and multifaceted. Continued support and care for all service members who sustain a combat-related MTBI with polytrauma is recommended, regardless of the presence or absence of symptom reporting within the first few months postinjury.

  • 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: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: August 01, 2014
  • Citation: Brickell TA, Lange RT, French LM. Health-related quality of life within the first 5 years following military-related concurrent mild traumatic brain injury and polytrauma. Mil Med. 2014 Aug;179(8):827-38.

Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2009-June 2014.

Study

Abstract

This report contains an update through June 2014 of the results of routine screening for antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among civilian applicants for military service and among members of the active and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces. Seroprevalences among civilian applicants in 2013 and the first half of 2014 (0.19 and 0.15 per 1,000 tested, respectively) were markedly lower than in 2012 (0.27 per 1,000 tested). In nearly every component of every service, seroprevalences in 2013 and 2014 were either similar or lower than in prior years; however, in the Army National Guard, seroprevalences increased each year and approximately doubled from 2010 (0.18 per 1,000 tested) to 2013-2014 (0.35-0.41 per 1,000 tested). Among active and reserve component service members, seroprevalences continue to be higher among Army and Navy members and males than their respective counterparts.

  • 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: August 01, 2014
  • Citation: AFHSC. Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2009-June 2014. MSMR. 2014 Aug;21(8):16-22.

Assessing functional impairment in a working military population: the Walter Reed functional impairment scale.

Study

Abstract

Measurement of functional impairment is a priority for the military and other professional work groups routinely exposed to stressful traumatic events as part of their occupation. Standard measures of impairment used in general or chronically ill populations contain many items not suitable for these populations, and include mental health symptoms items that are not true measures of functioning. We created a new, 14-item scale-the Walter Reed Functional Impairment Scale-to assess functioning in 4 domains (physical, occupational, social, and personal). We asked 3,380 soldiers how much difficulty they currently have in each of the 4 domains on a 5-point scale. Behaviorally based psychosocial and occupational performance measures and general health questions were used to validate the scale. The utility of the scale was assessed against clinical measures of psychopathology and physical health (depression, posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], general health, generalized physical symptoms). We utilized Cronbach's alpha, item response theory, and the score test for trend to establish consistency of items and the validity of the scale. The scale exhibited excellent reliability (Cronbach's α= 0.92) and validity. The individual items and quartiles of sum scores were strongly correlated with negative occupational and social performance, and the utility of the scale was demonstrated by strong correlations with depression, PTSD, and high levels of generalized physical symptoms. This scale exhibits excellent psychometric properties in this sample of U.S. soldiers and, pending future research, is likely to have utility for other healthy occupational groups.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Army
  • Sponsoring Office:
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Army
  • Release Date/Publication: August 01, 2014
  • Citation: Herrell RK, Edens EN, Riviere LA, Thomas JL, Bliese PD, Hoge CW. Assessing functional impairment in a working military population: the Walter Reed functional impairment scale. Psychol Serv. 2014 Aug;11(3):254-64.

The challenge of sleep management in military operations.

Study

Abstract

It has long been known that short-term (days) insufficient sleep causes decrements in mental effectiveness that put individuals at increased risk of committing errors and causing accidents. More recently, it has been discovered that chronic poor sleep (over years) is associated with a variety of negative health outcomes (metabolic syndrome, obesity, degraded behavioral health). Implementing an effective sleep health program is, therefore, in the best interests of active duty personnel and their families both in the short- and long-term. Like managing physical activity or nutrition, effectively managing sleep health comes with its unique set of challenges arising from the fact that individuals who routinely do not obtain sufficient sleep are generally desensitized to feeling sleepy and are poor at judging their own performance capabilities--and individuals cannot be compelled to sleep. For these reasons, an optimally effective sleep health program requires 3 components: (1) a rigorous, evidence-based sleep education component to impart actionable knowledge about optimal sleep amounts, healthy sleep behaviors, the known benefits of sleep, the short- and long-term consequences of insufficient sleep, and to dispel myths about sleep; (2) a nonintrusive device that objectively and accurately measures sleep to empower the individual to track his/her own sleep/wake habits; and (3) a meaningful, actionable metric reflecting sleep/wake impact on daily effectiveness so that the individual sees the consequences of his/her sleep behavior and, therefore, can make informed sleep health choices.

  • 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: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: October 01, 2013
  • Citation: Wesensten NJ, Balkin TJ. The challenge of sleep management in military operations. US Army Med Dep J. 2013 Oct-Dec:109-18.

Sleep characteristics, mental health, and diabetes risk: a prospective study of U.S. military service members in the Millennium Cohort Study.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Research has suggested that a higher risk of type 2 diabetes associated with sleep characteristics exists. However, studies have not thoroughly assessed the potential confounding effects of mental health conditions associated with alterations in sleep. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We prospectively assessed the association between sleep characteristics and self-reported incident diabetes among Millennium Cohort Study participants prospectively followed over a 6-year time period. Surveys are administered approximately every 3 years and collect self-reported data on demographics, height, weight, lifestyle, features of military service, sleep, clinician-diagnosed diabetes, and mental health conditions assessed by the PRIME-MD Patient Health Questionnaire and the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version. Statistical methods for longitudinal data were used for data analysis. RESULTS: We studied 47,093 participants (mean 34.9 years of age; mean BMI 26.0 kg/m2; 25.6% female). During 6 years of follow-up, 871 incident diabetes cases occurred (annual incidence 3.6/1,000 person-years). In univariate analyses, incident diabetes was significantly more likely among participants with self-reported trouble sleeping, sleep duration<6 h, and sleep apnea. Participants reporting incident diabetes were also significantly older, of nonwhite race, of higher BMI, less likely to have been deployed, and more likely to have reported baseline symptoms of panic, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression. After adjusting for covariates, trouble sleeping (odds ratio 1.21 [95% CI 1.03-1.42]) and sleep apnea (1.78 [1.39-2.28]) were significantly and independently related to incident diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: Trouble sleeping and sleep apnea predict diabetes risk independent of mental health conditions and other diabetes risk factors.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: DoD agency, office, or organization other than the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Defense Health Agency
  • Sponsoring Office:
  • 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: October 01, 2013
  • Citation: Boyko EJ, Seelig AD, Jacobson IG, Hooper TI, Smith B, Smith TC, et. al. Sleep characteristics, mental health, and diabetes risk: a prospective study of U.S. military service members in the Millennium Cohort Study. Diabetes Care. 2013 Oct;36(10):3154-61.

Sleep as a component of the performance triad: the importance of sleep in a military population.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Sleep habits among military populations are problematic. Poor sleep hygiene occurs in parallel with the global increase in obesity and metabolic syndrome and contributes to a decrease in performance. The extent of sleep issues needs to be quantified to provide feedback for optimizing warfighter performance and readiness. This study assessed various health behaviors and habits of US Army Soldiers and their relationship with poor sleep quality by introducing a set of new questions into the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) Global Assessment Tool (GAT). METHODS: Subjects included 14,148 US Army Active, Reserve, and National Guard members (83.4% male) who completed the GAT, a self-report questionnaire that measures 4 fitness dimensions: social, family, emotional, and spiritual. Approximately 60 new questions, including ones on sleep quality, within the fifth CSF2 dimension (physical) were also answered. A sleep score was calculated from 2 questions validated in the Pittsburgh Insomnia Rating Scale (0 to 6). RESULTS: Poor sleepers (5-6) were significantly (P<.001) more likely than good sleepers (0-1) to consider themselves in fair or poor health, be overweight or obese, and score in the lowest quartile of the emotional, social, family, and spiritual fitness dimensions. Additionally, poor sleepers were significantly (P<.001) less likely to have a healthy body mass index and waist circumference, eat breakfast 6 or more times a week, meet aerobic exercise and resistance training recommendations, and pass their Army Physical Fitness Test in the top quartile. CONCLUSION: This study examined sleep quality in a group of military personnel and indicated significant associations between quality of sleep and physical performance, nutritional habits, measures of obesity, lifestyle behaviors and measures of psychosocial status. Targeted educational interventions and resources are needed to improve sleep patterns based on behaviors that can be most easily modified.

  • 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: October 01, 2013
  • Citation: Lentino CV, Purvis DL, Murphy KJ, Deuster PA. Sleep as a component of the performance triad: the importance of sleep in a military population. US Army Med Dep J. 2013 Oct-Dec:98-108

Tdap coverage in a military beneficiary population: room for improvement.

Study

Abstract

Pertussis has had a resurgence in recent years. Women of child-bearing age and adults with infant contact are important reservoirs of infection because of waning immunity. Recent infant deaths and outbreaks led to new tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine recommendations, but vaccination rates remain low. A performance improvement project was started at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to target women of child-bearing age. Women treated in Gynecology had their electronic medical record screened for Tdap during their vital signs assessment. Those eligible for vaccination were directed to the Immunization Clinic. The intervention was considered successful if the patient received the vaccine within 30 days of the visit. Data were compiled on vaccination rates 1 month before and 1 and 3 months after the start of the performance improvement project. Only 13.9% of all patients had a documented Tdap at any time. During the first month following the intervention, vaccination rates within 30 days of the appointment increased from 0.38% to 6.5% (p < 0.005). The effect waned at 3 months following intervention, with only 1.1% of patients vaccinated within 30 days of the appointment. Overall vaccination rates remain low, and future studies should focus on barriers to vaccination to prevent morbidity and mortality.

  • 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: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)
  • Release Date/Publication: October 01, 2013
  • Citation: Lam ST, George S, Dunlow S, Nelson M, Hartzell JD. Tdap coverage in a military beneficiary population: room for improvement. Mil Med. 2013 Oct;178(10):1133-6.

Infant abusive head trauma in a military cohort.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Evaluate the rate of, and risk factors for, abusive head trauma (AHT) among infants born to military families and compare with civilian population rates. METHODS: Electronic International Classification of Diseases data from the US Department of Defense (DoD) Birth and Infant Health Registry were used to identify infants born to military families from 1998 through 2005 (N = 676 827) who met the study definition for AHT. DoD Family Advocacy Program data were used to identify infants with substantiated reports of abuse. Rates within the military were compared with civilian population rates by applying an alternate AHT case definition used in a civilian study. RESULTS: Applying the study definition, the estimated rate of substantiated military AHT was 34.0 cases in the first year of life per 100 000 live births. Using the alternate case definition, the estimated AHT rate was 25.6 cases per 100 000 live births. Infant risk factors for AHT included male sex, premature birth, and a diagnosed major birth defect. Parental risk factors included young maternal age (<21 years), lower sponsor rank or pay grade, and current maternal military service. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first large database study of AHT with the ability to link investigative results to cases. Overall rates of AHT were consistent with civilian populations when using the same case definition codes. Infants most at risk, warranting special attention from military family support programs, include infants with parents in lower military pay grades, infants with military mothers, and infants born premature or with birth defects.

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Navy
  • Sponsoring Office: Naval Health Research 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: October 01, 2013
  • Citation: Gumbs GR, Keenan HT, Sevick CJ, Conlin AM, Lloyd DW, Runyan DK, Ryan MA, Smith TC. Infant abusive head trauma in a military cohort. Pediatrics. 2013 Oct;132(4):668-76.

Nutrition as a component of the performance triad: how healthy eating behaviors contribute to soldier performance and military readiness.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Nutrition is a critical element of Soldier health and performance. Food choices, meal timing, and dietary intake behaviors contribute to nutritional fitness. The objectives of this study were to describe Soldier dietary behaviors and quantify the association between healthy eating behaviors and demographic, lifestyle, and psychosocial factors. METHODS: The Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Global Assessment Tool (GAT) assesses emotional, social, family, and spiritual fitness. In 2012, 57 pilot questions were added to the GAT to create a physical dimension that included nutrition assessments. Participants included 13,858 Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers: 83% male; 85% enlisted; a mean age of 28±9 years. A Healthy Eating Score (HES-5) was calculated from 5 questions assessing frequency of fruit, vegetable, whole grain, dairy, and fish intake (Cronbach α=0.81). Associations between HES-5 and other dietary habits, physical activity patterns, and GAT psychosocial dimension scores were examined. RESULTS: Soldiers who ate breakfast regularly (6 times/week or more), drank 7 servings or more of water/day, and met weekly exercise recommendations were more likely to be in the highest HES-5 quartile than those who did not. Those who passed their Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) in the top quartile were also more likely to report high HES-5 scores than those who failed (P<.001). Soldiers with healthy anthropometric measures and the highest emotional, social, family, and spiritual fitness scores were also more likely to be in the top HES-5 quartile than those with unhealthy measures and with the lowest fitness scores (P<.001). CONCLUSION: The HES-5 may be a useful index for characterizing dietary intake behaviors. Healthy dietary intake behaviors are associated with all dimensions of health, physical fitness, and psychosocial status.

  • 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: October 01, 2013
  • Citation: Purvis DL, Lentino CV, Jackson TK, Murphy KJ, Deuster PA. Nutrition as a component of the performance triad: how healthy eating behaviors contribute to soldier performance and military readiness. US Army Med Dep J. 2013 Oct-Dec:66-78.

Military report more complementary and alternative medicine use than civilians

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The study objective was to estimate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among active duty military and compare data with civilian use. DESIGN: A global survey on CAM use in the 12 previous months was conducted. Final participants (16,146) were stratified by gender, service, region, and pay grade. Analysis included prevalence of CAM use, demographic and lifestyle characteristics. RESULTS: Approximately 45% of respondents reported using at least one type of CAM therapy. Most commonly used therapies were as follows: prayer for one's own health (24.4%), massage therapy (14.1%), and relaxation techniques (10.8%). After exclusion of prayer for one's own health, adjusting to the 2000 U.S. census, overall CAM use in the military (44.5%) was higher than that in comparable civilian surveys (36.0% and 38.3%). CONCLUSIONS: Military personnel reported using three CAM stress-reduction therapies at 2.5-7 times the rate of civilians. Among the military, high utilization of CAM practices that reduce stress may serve as markers for practitioners assessing an individual's health and well-being

  • 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: Army
  • Release Date/Publication: June 01, 2013
  • Citation: Military report more complementary and alternative medicine use than civilians. Goertz C, Marriott BP, Finch MD, Bray RM, Williams TV, Hourani LL, Hadden LS, Colleran HL, Jonas WB.J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Jun;19(6):509-17

Neuropsychiatric events in varenicline and nicotine replacement patch users in the Military Health System.

Study

Abstract

To determine the rate ratio of neuropsychiatric hospitalizations in new users of varenicline compared to new users of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patch in the Military Health System (MHS). DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Varenicline (n = 19,933) and NRT patch (n = 15,867) users who initiated therapy from 1 August 2006 to 31 August 2007 within the MHS were included in this retrospective cohort study. After matching according to propensity scores, 10,814 users remained in each cohort. The study population included those with and without a history of neuropsychiatric disease. MEASUREMENTS: Patients were followed for neuropsychiatric hospitalizations defined by primary neuropsychiatric discharge diagnosis using ICD-9 codes from in-patient administrative claims. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated after propensity score matching on exposure for socio-demographic factors, health-care utilization, comorbidities, medication history and neuropsychiatric history. FINDINGS: There was no increase in the rate of neuropsychiatric hospitalizations in patients treated with varenicline compared to NRT patch when followed for 30 days (propensity-score matched HR = 1.14, 95% CI: 0.56-2.34). Results were similar after 60 days of follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: There does not appear to be an increase in neuropsychiatric hospitalizations with varenicline compared with nicotine replacement therapy patch over 30 or 60 days after drug initiation

  • Publication Status: Published
  • Sponsoring Organization: Army
  • Sponsoring Office: DoD Pharmacoeconomic Center
  • Congressionally Mandated: No
  • Funding Source: Army
  • Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2013
  • Citation: Meyer TE, Taylor LG, Xie S, Graham DJ, Mosholder AD, Williams JR, Moeny D, Ouellet-Hellstrom RP, Coster TS. Neuropsychiatric events in varenicline and nicotine replacement patch users in the Military Health System. Addiction. 2013 Jan;108(1):203-10.

Low vitamin D status and suicide: a case-control study of active duty military service members.

Study

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Considering that epidemiological studies show that suicide rates in many countries are highest in the spring when vitamin D status is lowest, and that low vitamin D status can affect brain function, we sought to evaluate if a low level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] could be a predisposing factor for suicide. METHOD: We conducted a prospective, nested, case-control study using serum samples stored in the Department of Defense Serum Repository. Participants were previously deployed active duty US military personnel (2002-2008) who had a recent archived serum sample available for analysis. Vitamin D status was estimated by measuring 25(OH) D levels in serum samples drawn within 24 months of the suicide. Each verified suicide case (n = 495) was matched to a control (n = 495) by rank, age and sex. We calculated odds ratio of suicide associated with categorical levels (octiles) of 25(OH) D, adjusted by season of serum collection. FINDINGS: More than 30% of all subjects had 25(OH)D values below 20 ng/mL. Although mean serum 25(OH)D concentrations did not differ between suicide cases and controls, risk estimates indicated that subjects in the lowest octile of season-adjusted 25(OH)D (<15.5 ng/mL) had the highest risk of suicide, with subjects in the subsequent higher octiles showing approximately the same level of decreased risk (combined odds ratio compared to lowest octile = 0.49; 95% C.I.: 0.315-0.768). CONCLUSIONS: Low vitamin D status is common in active duty service members. The lowest 25(OH)D levels are associated with an increased risk for suicide. Future studies could determine if additional sunlight exposure and vitamin D supplementation might reduce suicide by increasing 25(OH) D levels.

  • 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: January 01, 2013
  • Citation: Umhau JC, George DT, Heaney RP, Lewis MD, Ursano RJ, Heilig M, Hibbeln JR, Schwandt ML. Low vitamin D status and suicide: a case-control study of active duty military service members. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e51543.
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