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Acupuncture in military medicine is a growing phenomenon

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Tactics, Total Force Fitness
The December 2011 issue of Medical Acupuncture features a number of free, peer-reviewed articles detailing the use of acupuncture in the military.

Recognizing the expanding use of acupuncture within military medicine, the December 2011 issue of Medical Acupuncture is dedicated to exploring the uses of acupuncture in military medical care. Often used as a treatment for pain, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and mild traumatic brain injury, the practice of acupuncture is growing as a medical treatment for a broad range of ailments in the military, even in war zones. Featured articles include a roundtable discussion on challenges and opportunities for using acupuncture, an account of a U.S. Navy doctor’s use of acupuncture downrange, and future directions and applications of acupuncture.

Smartphone apps to help with stress and relaxation

HPRC Fitness Arena: Mind Tactics, Total Force Fitness
The National Center for Telehealth and Technology offers expanded mobile apps to help users control stress and monitor PTSD symptoms from their smartphones.

The National Center for Telehealth and Technology has introduced a line of mobile apps focusing on mind-body strategies to help improve mood, PTSD symptoms, and induce relaxation. Currently, most of the applications are available at the iPhone app store and Android Market. Below is a list of a few that are currently available. For more details, visit the MT Stress Control Tools.

DMAA-containing products in question

HPRC offers a list of products containing DMAA to help you make informed decisions in buying dietary supplements.

Dietary supplement products containing DMAA have been temporarily removed from military stores by the AAFES, but they are still available on the public retail market. HPRC has prepared a list of many of these products to help you watch for them if you are considering the purchase of dietary supplements. DMAA is found most commonly in products sold for bodybuilding or weight loss, but it can also be found in other performance-enhancing products, as well as in recreational party pills. The list also includes other names for DMAA that may be found on product labels. To download the list, go to the Dietary Supplements Resources page under the “Resources” tab, or just click on this link to directly access “Dietary Supplement Products Containing DMAA.”

Department of Defense removes DMAA-containing dietary supplements from exchanges

HPRC Fitness Arena: Dietary Supplements
DMAA-containing dietary supplements at military exchanges have been temporarily removed from shelves.

Due to concerns about possible serious adverse health effects, the Department of Defense (DoD) has put a medical hold on the sale of weight-loss and bodybuilding products containing 1,3-dimethylamylamine (DMAA), also referred to as methylhexanamine, Geranamine, and geranium oil, extract, or stems and leaves, from military exchanges.

An extensive investigation will take place to determine the safety of DMAA in dietary supplement products, as well as an educational campaign to assist Warfighters and their families in making informed choices.

For more information, please see the Question and Answers fact sheet by the Directorate of Strategic Communications, Office of the Surgeon General.

Marines address boot camp injuries

Reducing injuries during boot camp is a priority for the Marine Corps; athletic trainers keep watch over recruits to ensure the 13-week training is as injury-free as possible.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting on how the Marine Corps has hired 27 certified athletic trainers—most with experience tending professional and college athletes—to oversee training for enlisted recruits and officer candidates at sites throughout the United States. According to the article, this is a new direction for the Corps: Not that long ago, the drill instructors might have dismissed recruits who complained of being injured and ordered them back into action.

To learn more about military recommendations for prevention of injuries related to physical training related, visit the HPRC’s Injury Management page and click on the link to read Recommendations for Prevention of Physical Training (PT)-Related Injuries.

Future Trends: DARPA looking to develop “performance underwear” for warriors

DARPA researchers envision a future of soldier technology that will improve Warfighter effectiveness by employing high-tech underwear.

The future of Warfighter technology may someday include a high-tech “performance underwear” bodysuit that will protect soldiers from injuries, monitor vitals, and help soldiers maintain body energy while on the battlefield. This, according to an article in Wired.com, is what DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) hopes to one day accomplish. DARPA describes this so-called performance underwear concept as being an “adaptive, compliant, nearly transparent, quasi-active joint support suit,” which can “mitigate musculoskeletal injury caused by discrete dynamic events while maintaining soldier performance.” According to the official solicitation notice, the “DARPA Warrior Web program…will develop the technologies required to prevent and reduce musculoskeletal injuries caused by dynamic events typically found in the Warfighter's environment. This will be accomplished by a system (or web) of structures, in the form of a skin-suit, that are compliant and transparent until injury-causing conditions activate appropriate changes in the web structure.”

Sounds good…except there is one catch: Right now, military technology of this caliber doesn’t exist. The Wired article indicates that DARPA plans to introduce its future performance tool this month to a meeting of potential researchers. Their goal? To find a company that might be able to create a compliant, Warfighter-wearable, quasi-passive, adaptive suit system that can reduce injuries and retain optimal warrior performance.

HPRC’s Director at the Pentagon on 9/11

HPRC Fitness Arena: Total Force Fitness
The events of 9/11 changed many lives. HPRC’s own Director was on the spot at the Pentagon that day.

Everyone remembers where they were on September 11 ten years ago when the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon occurred. Retired Navy Capt. Stephen Frost—now Director of the Human Performance Resource Center—was at the Pentagon when the building was hit, and he was one of the first medical personnel to arrive at the disaster. Read this DoD article to learn more about his life-changing experience.

Summertime heat poses risk for soldiers' PT

HPRC Fitness Arena: Environment, Total Force Fitness
This summer has produced an exceptional amount of record heat across the U.S. This has impacted the Army’s PT with two incidences of soldier death and several cases of heat-related illness.

The ArmyTimes reported that due to this summer’s excessive heat wave, which affected most of the United States, the Army’s physical training has been impacted by two heat-related deaths and several cases of soldiers who became ill in the heat and sought medical treatment for heat injuries. According to the article, Army officials are looking for better ways to handle the heat and keep soldiers from succumbing to it.

Heat injuries can be a cause of both illness and fatalities. The Environment: Heat section of HPRC’s website provides valuable information on policies, reports, and guidelines for surviving and performing in hot environments.

How extreme heat conditions affect the body

HPRC Fitness Arena: Environment
Extreme heat poses a high risk and can impair the body's ability to regulate core temperatures that can lead to a variety of heat-related illnesses such as dehydration and heat stroke.

With hot, humid conditions expected to last through the week, the Los Angeles Times featured an article that explains how the body senses life-threatening danger and starts fighting to keep cool when the temperature rises in extreme heat conditions. Those at highest risk include people over age 60 and those who are overweight or have heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory problems. Being aware of the symptoms of heat illness and taking preventive measures to stay cool and hydrated are the keys to protecting against heat-related illness.

Pounding the pavement or soft trails—which running surface is better?

HPRC Fitness Arena: Physical Fitness
Some experts think that soft-surface running is harder on the body than running on pavement.



Conventional wisdom suggests that running on softer surfaces is better for the body than harder surfaces. However, in a recent New York Times article, the subject of running injuries on hard versus soft surfaces was examined. Exercise physiologist Hirofumi Tanaka of the University of Texas at Austin took a deeper look at soft-surface running and said he could not find any scientific evidence that a softer surface benefits runners. Tanaka developed an interest in the topic after experiencing a running injury. When he was recovering from a knee injury, an orthopedist told him to get off the roads and hit the trails. He took that advice and twisted his ankle and aggravated the injury while running on the softer, irregular surface.

In the aftermath of his accident, Dr. Tanaka said he could not find scientific evidence supporting that a softer surface is better for runners than a hard one, nor could other experts he queried. In fact, he suggested that it makes just as much sense to reason that runners are more likely to get injured on soft surfaces, which often are irregular, than on smooth, hard ones.

 

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