Friday, November 24, 2017
Military News

Researchers show off projects at Haley VA Medical Center

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — Retired Marine Lt. Col. Ty Edwards gripped a vertical bar attached to his power wheelchair and pulled himself upright.

Edwards couldn't stand by himself until his physical therapist at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center came up with the idea for the StandBar. The device is being patented by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

As the VA endures allegations of poor care, wrongful deaths and delayed medical care across the country, Haley officials spent Thursday highlighting researchers' work advancing medical care. Much like a science fair, researchers at the Tampa hospital packed an auditorium with rows of displays.

Edwards was shot during an ambush on the side of a mountain in Afghanistan and is paralyzed on his right side. He started working with therapist Karl Hayward soon after arriving at Haley in 2008. Hayward explained the science behind the bar while Edwards demonstrated to guests.

Hayward, who has worked at Haley for 40 years, noticed a problem with patients who had multiple injuries.

"They weren't able to push off from an armrest of a chair safely so I wondered 'What if they could pull themselves up?' I attached the bar to a power chair, which is heavy like a nice paperweight, and immediately every guy who has tried it has stood right up," he said.

Other research highlights included how traumatic brain injuries affect vision, the effects of human umbilical cord blood cells on treating heart tissue after a heart attack, and how a program to get jobs for veterans with spinal cord injuries improves their health.

In an experiment to test the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on a part of the brain that controls memory, researchers placed rats in a small box with holes in it and smeared cat food on the outside. The box was put in a cage with cats to induce PTSD in the rats. Researcher George Farmer found that stress damaged the rats' memory.

Also on display was the Million Veteran Program, a push started three years ago to collect DNA from 1 million veterans nationwide that will allow researchers to explore how genes affect health and illness.

Researchers hope it will lead to identifying genes that cause cancer and those associated with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and PTSD. Once identified, screenings could allow for preventive measures and better treatments. So far, 270,000 samples have been collected nationwide. In Tampa, where collection started in November, the count is 980 with a goal of 20,000.

Participants must complete health surveys and donate blood at a participating veterans center. To participate at Haley, call (813) 972-2000, ext. 5687.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3431.

Comments
SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

When Ryan Cleckner was an Army Ranger sniper in Afghanistan, he had as many as nine rifles he would use in different situations. But whenever a mission would evolve quickly, he would have to choose which ones to lug onto a helicopter. Even narrowing ...
Published: 11/22/17
Howard Altman: SS American Victory will host cruise to mark Pearl Harbor Day

Howard Altman: SS American Victory will host cruise to mark Pearl Harbor Day

Looking for a unique way to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day and celebrate the military’s nautical traditions?Check out the SS American Victory, which will set sail Dec. 2. for a two-hour cruise at 1:30 p.m.Registration will begin at noon to ride the car...
Published: 11/22/17
U.S. Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes into Pacific; 8 rescued

U.S. Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes into Pacific; 8 rescued

TOKYO — Eight people were rescued and three remained missing after a U.S. Navy plane crashed into the western Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, the Navy said. The C-2 "Greyhound" transport aircraft came down about 500 nautical miles (925 kilometers) southe...
Published: 11/22/17
Sex assault reports declining at MacDill despite increase militarywide

Sex assault reports declining at MacDill despite increase militarywide

TAMPA — The number of sexual assaults reported to officials at MacDill Air Force Base has decreased dramatically during the past three years even as reports across the military have increased slightly, new Pentagon statistics show.Officials at MacDil...
Published: 11/20/17
Cyber firm accesses CentCom cloud information, gives command low security score

Cyber firm accesses CentCom cloud information, gives command low security score

Every day, military and civilian personnel stationed at the MacDill Air Force Base headquarters of U.S. Central Command use the Internet to reach out to foreign audiences in an effort to combat Islamic State propaganda.To help measure the success of ...
Published: 11/17/17
VA’s quiet plan to widen private care with TRICARE stirs concern

VA’s quiet plan to widen private care with TRICARE stirs concern

WASHINGTON — As part of its effort to expand private health care, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been developing plans to merge its health system with the Pentagon’s, a cost-saving measure that veterans groups say could threaten the viability...
Published: 11/17/17
Howard Altman: Missing records confound veterans on base exchange website

Howard Altman: Missing records confound veterans on base exchange website

In the more than three decades that I have been toiling at various paragraph factories, few stories have elicited as much response as the one I wrote about the new program to allow all honorably discharged veterans to shop at military base exchanges ...
Published: 11/17/17
She was an artist who answered a Craigslist ad. Next thing she knew she was best friends with a 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor

She was an artist who answered a Craigslist ad. Next thing she knew she was best friends with a 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor

University of Miami architecture student Emi Kopke still cannot believe her luck. She answered a Craiglist ad asking for an artist to do hand drawings for a special project. The self-taught artist sent in 15 of her hand drawings — including some of b...
Published: 11/11/17
As fewer serve, burden of war falls heavier on families with tradition of service

As fewer serve, burden of war falls heavier on families with tradition of service

When Lauren Price’s youngest son went off to fight in Iraq in 2008, she handed him a going-away present few parents could offer."I gave him my Iraqi cell phone," said Price, 52, a Navy veteran from New Port Richey who served in the same region of Ira...
Published: 11/10/17
Howard Altman: Army settles flap over who will wear the Green Beret

Howard Altman: Army settles flap over who will wear the Green Beret

I have a hard time picturing Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, a no-nonsense guy with plenty on his plate, taking time out of his busy day sorting through color swatches.But thanks to one of two recent victories in the battle for Army tradition, ...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/10/17