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04-22-10, 03:00 PM #1
VA Marks 85 Years Of Research Excellence
WASHINGTON (April 22, 2010) - Eighty-five years of enriching the lives
of Veterans and all Americans through top-notch medical research will be
spotlighted April 26-30 when the Department of Veterans Affairs
celebrates National VA Research Week.
On April 22, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs W. Scott Gould was
joined by disability advocate Lee Woodruff and country music star - and
Iraq and Afghanistan vet - Stephen Cochran at VA's Central Office in
Washington to kick off the official 85th birthday party for the
Department's research program.
"The rich history of accomplishment by VA researchers has improved
Veterans' lives and advanced the practice of medicine throughout the
country," said Gould. "The innovative VA researchers who turn so many
hopes into realities are truly national treasures."
VA, which has the largest integrated health care system in the country,
also has one of the largest medical research programs. This year,
nearly 3,400 researchers will work on more than 2,300 projects, funded
by nearly $1.9 billion.
VA's research program was recently in the news when the prestigious New
England Journal of Medicine published the results April 16 of a study by
VA's Albert Lo of Providence, R.I., to use robotics to improve the
recovery of stroke victims with impaired use of their arms and hands.
Gould noted the most recent space shuttle flight on April 5 carried to
the international space station a VA research project to study the
impact of aging on the human immune system. The study is overseen by
Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford, a VA researcher in San Francisco and a former
scientist-astronaut who flew on the space shuttle in 1991.
"From the development of effective therapies for tuberculosis and
implantable cardiac pacemakers, to the first successful liver transplant
and the nicotine patch, VA's trail-blazing research accomplishments are
a source of great pride to our Department and the nation," Gould added.
In 1977, VA researcher Rosalind Yalow was awarded the Nobel Prize in
Medicine for developing techniques that measure substances in the blood
with great accuracy. Her work brought about "a revolution in biological
and medical research," according to the Nobel Committee.
Eighteen years before, in 1959, Dr. William Oldendorf, a VA researcher
in Los Angeles, built a unique device to measure blood flow in the brain
with only $3,000. He went on to create something even more remarkable
-- a prototype for the first computerized tomography (CT) scanner.
"Examples of this dedication and advancement are not limited to
history," said Gould. "Today's committed VA researchers are focusing on
traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, post-deployment
health, womens health and a host of other issues key to the well-being
of our Veterans."
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