Military Health Matters

Stories and features pertaining to Veterans Health Issues.

Collateral benefits from COVID research
Health, Military Health Matters

Collateral benefits from COVID research

Medical breakthroughs are a sad irony of great wars, no less the war on COVID-19. Humanity will be better prepared to deal with the threat. Hundreds of thousands of researchers around the world dropped their projects to join the battle to find treatments for those sickened by the virus and vaccines to protect the uninfected and stop its spread. The world now knows how to effectively marshal medical research for a single cause. When, not if, the next pandemic occurs, humanity will be better prepared to deal with the threat. There have been collateral benefits from this massive effort, beginning with messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) therapy, which is likely to have far-reaching effects on many branches of medicine. The mRNA vaccine is like a wanted-persons poster, telling the immun...
Time heals
Health, Military Health Matters

Time heals

Whether buying time or giving it time, the clock and calendar measure the success of military medics and physicians. Medics feverishly work against the clock during the golden hour—that brief period of time to stave off death following severe trauma, when bleeding must be controlled, shock prevented, and the patient transported for more intensive care.  For physicians, it’s a waiting game. Only time will tell if what they’ve done will repair or cure the patient, and Mother Nature can take her own sweet time about it.  But what if time could be stretched for the former, and shortened for the latter?  DARPA, the futuristic U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has major projects looking at both ends of this time continuum.  The Biostasis program aims to improve survival for ...
Research on family matters
Military Health Matters

Research on family matters

In May, Canadians will be asked to fill in a census question important to every veteran and serving military member—and their families. “Has this person ever served in the Canadian military?” It’s been half a century since that question was last included in the census; things have changed a little.  Perhaps the biggest change has been an increased interest in how military service affects the families of serving members and veterans. That’s why mention of the 2021 census brought a round of applause at the online Military and Veteran Family Research symposium hosted by the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) in February.  This is a relatively new field of research, and knowledge gaps showed large right from the get-go. When pioneer researcher Deborah Norr...
Looking for a good night’s sleep
Military Health Matters

Looking for a good night’s sleep

Lack of sleep is always in the background of a military career. Military jobs, operations and missions go on around the clock and don’t come to a halt at bedtime.  CAF members are expected to be prepared to miss meals and work irregular or prolonged hours. Duty comes first. But even when duty is done, the stress of service can interfere with shut-eye.  Sleep deficiency can slide into sleep deprivation without many individuals noticing. But around the world, military organizations and veterans affairs departments are beginning to take notice of the effects of lack of sleep.  The Canadian Armed Forces introduced adequate sleep as part of the new fitness strategy introduced in 2019.  A U.S. study on the effects of sleep deprivation during combat operations said the ability to do u...
Medical Advances Behind the Line, Part 1
Military Health Matters, Military History, Military Milestones

Medical Advances Behind the Line, Part 1

The First World War spurred medical innovations that have since saved countless lives. In a war of attrition, where huge armies met in battles that could go on for months, keeping the men fit to fight required as much thought and effort as battle preparations.  While the military war was waged in intermittent battles against the enemy across no man’s land, the medical war was an endless fight against mites and microbes and horrific bodily damage wrought by the mass killing machines of the First World War. Victory on both fronts required medical breakthroughs. Men, mites and microbes “Well! I don’t know which is the worst. The war or the lice.… When we are in the trenches, what little time we get to sleep, the lice won’t let us.” —Samuel Warren Ball, April 1917 (from the Canadi...
Help for those living with concussion
Health, Military Health Matters, Uncategorized

Help for those living with concussion

The long days and nights of pandemic social isolation are tough on military veterans with symptoms of traumatic brain injury, especially those living alone—and particularly those who shrugged off seemingly minor head injuries and haven’t connected their symptoms to concussion. The structure of daily life has been disrupted; the radio and television get a harder workout, resulting in headaches from glare and blare. It’s easier to drift off into a nap, with disastrous results for an already disrupted sleep routine. Friends and colleagues are less available to provide company and help negotiate the new rules that can be confusing for those with memory problems and brain fog. People around them seem to be walking on eggshells, but sufferers shrug that off, too: of course, they’re more ir...

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