On Thursday, June 23rd, NCIRE – The Veterans Health Research Institute presented The Brain at War at the Marines Memorial Club & Hotel in San Francisco, California. It was the fourth annual meeting of this national conference on the neurological and psychological wounds of combat.
In keynote remarks, Francis J. Harvey, PhD, the 19th Secretary of the Army, spoke on “Making the Soldier’s Creed A Reality.” Dr. Harvey discussed the broader meaning of the line, “I will never leave a fallen comrade,” noting its implication that the United States has a lifelong commitment to troops, Veterans, and their families, including the obligation to provide the best medical care.
Dr. Harvey was followed by Michael J. Leggieri, Jr., Director of the Department of Defense Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office, who reviewed the latest research on diagnosis, mechanisms, and treatment of mild traumatic brain injury.
Retired US Navy Seal James Hatch, a Veteran of the war in Afghanistan, stirred the audience of nearly 300 with a personal and frank narrative of combat, serious injury, post-traumatic stress, recovery, and readjustment. His talk was received with a standing ovation.
Other featured presenters included Michael Weiner, MD, Director of the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases at SFVAMC; Thomas Neylan, MD, Director of the PTSD Clinical Care and Research Program at SFVAMC; and Sophia Vinogradov, MD, Interim Chief of Mental Health at SFVAMC, each of whom spoke on different aspects of PTSD clinical care and research. Margaret A. Chesney, PhD, Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF, discussed exercise as a key component of integrative care for Veterans.
“This year’s conference was wonderfully successful,” said NCIRE Executive Director Robert E. Obana. “Thanks to our marvelous guests and our own talented researchers, The Brain at War has become the nation’s leading venue for discussion of the many neurological and psychological aspects of combat injury, and their effects on our Veterans, troops, their families, and our country. This conference not only afforded us an opportunity to exchange knowledge and connect colleagues, but was also a validation of our work to advance the health of our Veterans of today and tomorrow.”
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