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Posts Tagged ‘Bryant Furlow’

Army Public Health Command won’t release health studies — or even the titles of studies

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 16, 2011

By Bryant Furlow on May 15, 2011  Epinewswire

The U.S. Army Public Health Command will not disclose epidemiological consultation (EPICON) studies completed in 2010 — or even a list of EPICON study titles, according to a Freedom of Information Act denial letter sent to epiNewswire.

“We consulted with the Department of Justice and concluded this request is too broad in subject matter,” FOIA officer Kevin M. Delaney wrote in a FOIA denial letter postdated May 5, 2011. “Therefore, we have denied this request.”

epiNewswire had requested the documents in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated Feb. 15, 2011.

The FOIA request sought a list of the titles and dates of Army epidemiolgoical consultation (EPICON) reports conducted since 2001 and completed EPICON reports dated 2010.

epiNewswire also sought the titles and start dates of all incomplete EPICON studies.

EPICON studies are undertaken by teams of epidemiologists and other scientists, like microbiologists, when unexplained health problems or disease outbreaks occur in military populations. Typically, only two or three such studies are undertaken in a given year. epiNewswire is preparing an appeal of the denial decision and has filed new FOIA requests with the Army Public Health Command, for the alleged Department of Justice opinion and other correspondence.

The Army Public Health Command was involved in an internal 2010 study of Army soldier suicide rates that was held back as “a political hot potato” and reanalyzed, because of a finding linking combat deployments and suicide risk in soldiers — a link for which Pentagon officials have repeatedly denied there exists any evidence.
Other Army researchers’ health studies have been suppressed and censored as part of the Actionable Medical Intelligence (AMI) censorship program, epiNewswire reported in 2008. That program appears to be ongoing under the Obama administration, but the Army Public Helath Command has also failed to disclose any related documents over the past year, in violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

Posted in AWOL Medical Records, Misjudgements, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More Medical Waste

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 3, 2010

by Bryant Furlow at the New Mexico Independent

Despite a seven-year string of rate increases on New Mexico policyholders, the firm has not curbed executive compensation, officials testified at the hearing.

Top individual HSCS executives’ bonus pay for 2007, 2008 and 2009 well exceeded the company’s claimed $20 million loss over those three years on New Mexico health insurance policies. In 2008 alone, HCSC’s CEO and a company vice president took home nearly $20 million in bonuses, for example.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Suicide rate continues to climb

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 18, 2010

By Bryant Furlow at  Epinews

June 16, 2010 — The U.S. Army’s newly-released suicide tally for June present a daunting picture of many soldiers’ dispair.

June saw 21 active duty U.S. soldiers take their own lives and 12 National Guard personnel and reservists commit suicide — a higher total than for any previous month on record.

Civilian contractors’ suicide rates are not reported.

AepiNewswire reported, Army epidemiologists were reporting to their superiors in March that they had identified combat deployments as a significant risk factor for soldiers’ suicide — contradicting the official line that there are no discernable correlations for the increasing suicide rate since 2004.

The combat deployment association was declared a “political hot potato” at a high-level meeting in March, and by April, the findings had been “re-analyzed” with “more rigorous” (but undisclosed) statistical analyses.

The new analysis showed no correlation between suicide and combat deployments.

Army scientists’ research on soldiers’ suicide rates in 2006 and 2007 were among the potentially sensitive studies censored by the Army under its obscure Actionable Medical Intelligence review program, the existence of which was first reported by epiNewswire in 2008.

So it goes.

Posted in Contractor Casualties and Missing, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

We Welcome the Medical Muckraker Blog

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 11, 2010

The Medical Muckracker is a new blog by Award Winning Medical and Science Writer Bryant Furlow.

Bryant has been researching and reporting on Medical Issues that effect military as well as contractors for many years.  At our request he recently researched and reported on the medical effects of the warzone Burn Pits  which was published in the Lancet Oncology. He has extensively researched  Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Leishmaniasis, Acinetobacter baumannii, Toxic Exposures, and other issues effecting the military, contractors, and their families.

He started this new blog to expose wrongs and highlight under-reported public health stories that affect peoples’ lives but have been neglected by the mainstream media.

Bryants Evidence Based Medical Reporting will be be invaluable to all War Zone Contractors as you navigate your own medical diagnoses’ and confirm causation.

You will find Bryant’s work posted here often.  Check out Bryants Intro Page

Posted in Acinetobacter, Burn Pits, Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Leishmaniasis, PTSD and TBI, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Acinetobacter Threat

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 11, 2010

Many Contractors who entered the Military Medical Evacuation System out of Iraq and Afghanistan suffer the consequences of Acinetobacter contamination.

at EPI Evidence Based Medical News and Expose’

by Bryant Furlow

Think MRSA is scary? Since the mid-2000s, a more environmentally persistent, increasingly antibiotic-resistant infection has spread through-out western Europe and the U.S.

The arrival of extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter at U.S. hospitals caught public health officials off guard. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, these infections were increasingly rare, with declining infection rates.

But in 2004, U.S. Army physicians began noting a high rate of antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter infections among soldiers wounded and initially treated in Iraq — and sporadic reports began to suggest the infections were spreading from wounded soldiers to other patients at military health care facilities.

Cross infection from injured soldiers and contractors was recognized as a “particular problem” in the U.K. but the U.S. military has consistently downplayed the risk of spread.  Isolation and infection control procedures, promoted on paper, were widely ignored in clinical practice.  By 2007, Acinetobacter had become one of the most common gram-negative hospital infections.  Now it isinvading nursing homes.

Recent studies tie Acinetobacter drug resistance to infection lethality, contrasting sharply with early military research, which suggested Acinetobacter infections do not kill.

Beginning in June, epiNewswire will be exploring the origins of the Acinetobacter threat with continuing coverage of this and other emerging hospital infections. Check our continuing coverage of new studies in the research briefs column.

Posted in Acinetobacter, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Internal Army study of deployments and suicide a ‘political hot potato’

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 26, 2010

‘More vigorous’ statistical analysis erases previously identified association between combat units and suicide risk, but suicides are increasingly linked to PTSD

By Bryant Furlow at  epiNews

May 26, 2010 — U.S. Army officials have steadfastly denied any association between deployment histories and suicide risk among soldiers. That may be why an internal Army study by the obscure Behavioral and Social Health Outcomes Program (BSHOP), reportedly showing just such an association, was described as a “political hot potato” in a March 2010 briefing paper obtained by epiNewswire.

A version of the BSHOP study completed the following month reported that “more vigorous” but unspecified statistical analyses had erased a previous finding linking combat unit service and suicide risk.

The briefing document describes a meeting between the Surgeon General of the Army, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army General Peter W. Chiarelli, who is in charge of the Army’s suicide prevention efforts,and officials working on the $50 million federal “Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members” (STARRS), an Army and National
Institutes of Mental Health study of suicide epidemiology.

A BSHOP analysis of suicide risk found an association between suicides and deployments, the briefing states. Chiarelli described that association as a “political hot potato,” according to the briefing.

Chiarelli and other Army officials have repeatedly downplayed suggestions of any connection between deployments and suicide.

“As I look across all the factors, from the number of deployments individual brigade combat teams have gone through to everything else, I cannot find a causal link that links anything,” Chiarelli was quoted as saying in a Nov. 17, 2009 Christian Science Monitor story.  Please Read the Full Story here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Department of Labor, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Internal Army study cites more suicides than reported to public

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 26, 2010

By Bryant Furlow at  epiNews

May 26, 2010 — The U.S. Army’s publicly disclosed soldier suicide counts for 2008 and 2009, the highest on  record, are lower than those reported in a new internal Army study obtained by epiNewswire.

The disparity is modest. The internal study, completed last month, lists a total of 311 soldier suicides for 2008 and 2009.  As of April 2010, the Army’s publicly disclosed suicide count for those two years totaled 300.

It is unclear whether the discrepancy is due to inaccurately low public disclosures or inaccurately high numbers in the internal study.

Because of the time sometimes required to confirm suicide determinations, estimated suicide rates for a given month can climb over a period of several months. But that does not appear to explain the disparity between the numbers reported to the public and those listed in the internal study.

The study reports 166 soldier suicides for 2009, for example — six more than the 160 Army officials reported to the Congress and journalists in April 2010, the same month the study was completed.

Army suicide data released to the public May 13 included “updated numbers for 2009” totaling 163 suicides, reflecting three newly confirmed suicides. Two of those deaths had been initially declared accidental, according to an Army press release.

But the revised 2009 figure released this month was still lower than the 166 cases cited in the Army’s internal study.

“I think it’s reasonable for the numbers to change over time as new evidence is considered,” Maj. Remington Nevin, M.D., told epiNewswire.  “The larger point is that it is certainly possible  that our official suicide numbers reflect only a proportion of the true burden of suicide, and that many “accidental” deaths may actually reflect intentional death.”

Read the full story here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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