One Mission, One Goal: Veterans Health


We are a scientific community of clinicians and researchers and we partner with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS) to bring the power of modern medicine to the health of our nation’s Veterans.


Understanding Long-Term TBI Consequences Using Artificial Intelligence


The long-term risks of head injuries are poorly understood, with some studies suggesting severe consequences and others no consequence at all. Two major challenges exist when trying to understand the long-term nature of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). First is the lack of large and well-characterized datasets. The second major challenge is finding high quality, objective data like medical images or blood tests that can tell us more about the biological nature of an individual TBI. Recent research by NCIRE supported researcher, Duygu Tosun-Turgut, Ph.D, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), San Francisco VA Health Care System; and University of California San Francisco, addresses these issues.

NCIRE Principal Investigator, Michael Weiner, MD, has co-authored an article, “The Late Contributions of Repetitive Head Impacts and TBI to Depressions Symptoms and Cognition,” published in the latest issue of the journal, “Neurology.”  Through their study, Dr. Weiner and his colleagues were able to conclude that RHI (Repetitive Head Injury) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) independently contributed to mid- to worse mid- to later-life neuropsychiatric and cognitive functioning.  Dr. Weiner is a Professor in Residence in Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, and former Director of the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases (CIND) at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

This article by Alex Dang, an NCIRE-supported scientist and co-director of UCSF’s Center for Advanced 3D+ Technologies, describes how his UCSF team solved a recurring problem of broken clips in Personal Air Powered Respirator helmets. “By utilizing 3D printing, we were able to fix nearly all of the broken helmets in our hospitals’ current supply, and with our new supply of clips, we will be able keep these helmets readily available for our clinical teams,” said Dang in the article posted by the UCSF Library.   Below you will find an article about his use of digital printing technology to create the three-dimensional face shields that are a crucial part of healthcare workers PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

VA and non-VA cardiac rehabilitation programs offer similar benefits, found a VA Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) study. “Eligible patients with ischemic heart disease should participate in cardiac rehabilitation programs regardless of where they are provided,” said study author and NCIRE supported researcher Dr. Mary A. Whooley of the San Francisco VA Health Care System and the University of California, San Francisco.  Previous studies have shown that cardiac rehab after a heart attack or bypass surgery lowers risk of death.  Despite these recommendations, participation in VA cardiac rehab programs has been low.The main  reasons are that many Veterans live far from VA facilities, and not all VA centers offer cardiac rehab.   The results of the study show that quality of rehab is similar across VA and outside health care systems.

Lifesaving Face Shields for Health Care Workers are Newest 3D-Printing Project

Alex Dang, an NCIRE-supported scientist and co-director of UCSF’s Center for Advanced 3D+ Technologies, is part of a multidisciplinary team aiming to produce thousands of protective face shields for frontline care workers. Because all elective orthopedic surgeries have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dang and colleagues have focused their energies on the personal protective equipment (PPE) effort, re-purposing their 3D printers and providing about 90 percent of the plastic filament being used as the material for the headband pieces.

Leading Researcher in Aging and Dementia Elected to Prestigious National Academy of Medicine

Kristine Yaffe, Vice Chair of Clinical and Translational Research in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at SFVAHCS, was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Yaffe, an NCIRE-supported scientist and board member, is a leading expert in the modifiable risk factors of dementia, including research that has linked low physical activity and concussions to cognitive decline later in life.

Moisturizers and other products may be doing as much harm as good, especially for people with sensitive skin. A solution may lie in a lotion that is formulated for skin repair and contains key “mortar ingredients,” according to a study by UCSF dermatology professor Peter Elias and research scientist Mao-Qiang Man, MD, both affiliated with the SFVAHCS and NCIRE.

On World’s Alzheimer’s Day, Kristine Yaffe, is interviewed by MSNBC about the link between traumatic brain injuries in Veterans and the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Yaffe, an NCIRE-supported is UCSF professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology and Chief of Geriatric Psychiatry at SFVAHCS

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