War's impact on healthcare, Migraines, and headaches

Teri Robert @trobert Health Guide
  • I'm not much on politics. I think politics have taken the place of true leadership and that there should be a way to wipe every elected politician's brain of party ties so they're plain vanilla Americans.

    However, today, I'm writing about something that could be considered political -- funding of healthcare and healthcare research. A friend directed me to an article entitled "War Critics Organize In Unlikely Place - Doctors Protest Against Health Effects of War," written by Debora Villalon of KGO-TV/DVD in San Francisco.

    In this piece, Villalon reports on a group of doctors at UCSF who have formed the "Iraq Action Group." One member of the group, Dr. Dan Lowenstein, stated "We see the dividing line between being completely healthy and losing one's health." He went on to say that doctors "uniquely grasp the health effects of the war -- from the soldiers and civilians killed and maimed in Iraq to the downstream effects on our health care system."
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    Doctors such as Lowenstein and Michael Geschwind contend that the war is taking funding away from medical research. Gershwind is a neruology researcher who told Villalon, "Next year they're automatically cutting 18 percent offany money you were told you were going to be getting... Don't even bother applying. Because of the war in Iraq and the budget cuts, there's no way this type of thing can any longer be funded." When Villalon asked if they make a direct conneciton, Gerschwind replied that they did.

    These doctors make another interesting point -- cuts in medical research now will affect treatment in the future, for generations.

    I'm not going to say that the war in Iraq is right or wrong; I can't really decide, feeling one way one day and the opposite the next. However, I believe it's time for our government to take a good, hard look at where our tax dollars are spent. Not only are we spending billions of dollars on the war in Iraq, we're spending billions of dollars on humanitarian aid for other countries while there are people in our own country who can't afford medical care or medications. We could also stand to spend some dollars on educating doctors and other healthcare professionals better. It's inexcusable that time after time, Migraineurs report having to go to the emergency room either to be treated like a "drug seeker" or to have the staff have no idea what to do for them. And I haven't even touched on the healthcare, or lack of healthcare, offered to our soldiers, veterans, and their dependents. Just today, I received an email from an Air Force veteran who who can't get her military insurance to cover Botox for Migraine prevention. A study of Migraineurs in the Army in Iraq showed only 3% were treated with triptans; that Migraine attacks are sub-optimally managed in deployed military personnel. (See Soldiers in Iraq: Migraines Up, Management Down.)

    Please, take a minute to read "War Critics Organize In Unlikely Place - Doctors Protest Against Health Effects of War" and watch the video in the sidebar of the page. After you've done that, consider writing to your Senators and representatives in the House. If you don't have their addresses, use these directories:
  • Now, more than ever, it's essential that we raise our voices to tell our elected representatives what we want and expect. Won't you join me in expressing displeasure over the cuts to medical research?
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    Note: Author and patient advocate John McManamy is an expert on HealthCentral's BipolarConnect.com. John recently wrote a moving piece about some of our veterans. Take a look at his Palm Sunday Reflections.
Published On: March 17, 2007