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Veterans Listing Non-Nuclear Family Member As Next of Kin

Posted on Sat, Apr 11, 2015
 Veterans Listing Non-Nuclear Family Member As Next of Kin

Overall, 7 percent of veterans in Connecticut have people listed who are not nuclear family members

TUESDAY, April 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A considerable number of veterans list an individual as next of kin who is not a nuclear family member, according to a research letter published in the April 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Andrew B. Cohen, M.D., D.Phil., from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues asked patients receiving care at Veterans Health Administration facilities about their next of kin. Next-of-kin relationships were reviewed for 109,803 veterans who received care from 2003 to 2013.

The researchers found that for 92.9 percent of patients the next of kin was a nuclear family member. For 7.1 percent of patients, the next of kin listed was a person outside the patient's nuclear family; 2.9 percent of patients listed a more distant relative and 4.2 percent listed an individual who was not a blood or legal relative. This was most frequently a friend or intimate relationship outside marriage. For less than 1 percent of patients, the relationship involved another social tie, including landlady, priest, roommate, or sponsor.

"A substantial number of veterans in our sample had a next-of-kin relationship outside the nuclear family," the authors write. "If this finding is confirmed in other populations, states should consider adopting uniform default consent statutes, and these statutes should be broad and inclusive to reflect the evolving social ties in the United States."

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Smell Test Helps Identify Brain Injury in Soldiers

Posted on Thu, Apr 02, 2015
Smell Test Helps Identify Brain Injury in Soldiers

Findings suggest new avenue for identifying hidden injuries

TUESDAY, March 31, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Testing soldiers' sense of smell can help diagnose those with traumatic brain injury, according to new research published online March 18 inNeurology.

"Although it may seem far-fetched that the sense of smell can be used to identify a concealed brain injury, olfactory impairment was commonly used by neurosurgeons in attempts to localize certain brain tumors prior to the use of advanced neuroimaging in the 1980s," study leader Michael Xydakis, M.D., of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., said in a university news release.

The study included 231 members of the U.S. military with combat injuries who were patients at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. They were evaluated for traumatic brain injury and had their sense of smell tested. All of those with irregular results on the smell test had abnormalities on brain scans. The brain interprets smells by linking them to past memories. This process doesn't work properly if a person is experiencing memory problems, the researchers explained.

"Getting a computed tomography scan in a combat zone is often the equivalent distance of placing a soldier on a helicopter in Washington, D.C., and sending them to Boston. It requires a significant investment in personnel and aviation resources; not to mention flying troops over hostile terrain," Xydakis said in the news release. "Using abnormalities with the sensory systems has opened up an entirely new avenue of investigation for diagnosing brain injuries."

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Physicians Should Be Aware of Signs of Burnout

Posted on Tue, Mar 31, 2015
Physicians Should Be Aware of Signs of Burnout

Stress is major predictor for burnout among doctors; operating in high-stress environment also harmful

THURSDAY, March 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Burnout can be prevented if physicians are aware of the warning signs, according to an article published by the American Medical Association.

Noting that many physicians are feeling exhausted from practicing medicine, Mark Linzer, M.D., from the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, discusses seven signs that physicians should look out for and not ignore.

According to the article, stress is the number one predictor for burnout among physicians; physicians consistently operating under high stress are more than 15 times more likely to burn out. Operating in a high-stress or chaotic environment is also harmful. Physicians who do not agree with their boss' values or leadership are more likely to feel less motivated and subsequently burn out. Physicians frequently act as an emotional buffer, buffering patients from a stressful environment until they can't cope. Spending time with family helps physicians perform better; work-life interference is one of the most common predictors for physician burnout. Lacking control over work schedule and free time can cause stress and spark burnout; setting a standardized set of hours is beneficial for physicians. Finally, neglecting oneself is a sign of burnout; self-care is important in caring for patients.

"People always want to say that physician wellness and performance measures will cost a lot of money, but preventing burnout can actually save money in the long run on recruiting and training new practice staff," Linzer said in a statement.

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FDA Approves New CPR Devices

Posted on Mon, Mar 16, 2015
FDA Approves New CPR Devices

Used together, they up the amount of oxygenated blood circulating through the body during CPR 

MONDAY, March 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A new cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) system designed to increase the chance of survival in people experiencing cardiac arrest has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The ResQCPR System involves two devices used together to help people who require CPR outside the hospital. The first device, the ResQPump Active Compression Decompression CPR Device, attaches to a person's chest with a suction cup, making it easier for a rescuer to perform compressions and decompressions, the FDA said. The second unit, the ResQPod 16.0 Impedance Threshold Device, fits onto a rescue mask or breathing tube, and helps reduce pressure inside the patient's chest. This procedure, known as preloading, helps draw more blood to the heart.

Used together, the devices help increase the amount of oxygenated blood that circulates through the patient's body during CPR, the FDA said.

Side effects observed during clinical testing were similar to those of standard CPR, the agency said. In addition, people using the new devices had a higher risk of pulmonary edema than people who received standard CPR.

The devices are made by Advance Circulatory Systems, based in Roseville, Minn.

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