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Honor a Veteran With Your Support

The US has been engaged in two wars - and the impact never leaves the soldiers who have to face new struggles when they return home. We can help them reclaim their lives - it's not easy, but it's our duty as citizens serving alongside them.
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The U-M Depression Center and the Buddy-to-Buddy program are inspiring veterans to help fellow soldiers transition back to civilian life after deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, and new U-M research examines suicide risk among soldiers with psychiatric illnesses.

The veterans in your family and community need your interest, support and assistance in tapping the people and services that can help them return home and reclaim their civilian life.  It's not easy for them... or for us, but together we can nurture and support the fragility of life in the people we care about.

Prosthetic Devices for Limbs

The University of Michigan Health System's Department of Surgery to provide prosthetic devices that are not only functional, but can restore a sense of touch for soldiers who have lost limbs in combat. 

Researchers across the globe have been working for years to figure out how to make prosthetic limbs function like a normal arm or leg. But to date, none have provided a realistic long-term solution.

The warmth from holding a child’s hand in yours or the security of feeling your feet planted firmly on the ground – these are experiences so common, so ordinary for most of us we take them entirely for granted.

But for the 1.7 million people living without a limb, these simple experiences are what many miss most. Now, a groundbreaking new device created by U-M surgeons holds the promise to restore limb function and sensation for amputees by connecting a sophisticated robotic prosthesis directly to the peripheral nerves.

Called a “bio-artificial neuromuscular junction,” the new device combines muscle tissue with an organic polymer to connect severed nerves to a prosthetic limb.

“The nerves in an amputated arm or leg remain connected to the brain, so the brain forever will continue to send signals down those nerves, trying to tell the hand or foot what to do, even if the hand or foot isn’t there,” says plastic surgeon Paul Cederna, M.D., a U-M professor of surgery and lead researcher on the project.

“With our technique, we’re connecting these nerves to our device – the nerves send signals that communicate with the prosthesis, which then operates just like a normal hand.”

Buddy-to-Buddy Program for Veterans

Veterans help soldiers transition back to civilian life after deployment with assistance from the Buddy-toBuddy Program.

No one knows more about the issues facing veterans – in combat or on the home front – than another veteran. That’s why the U-M Depression Center, together with the Michigan Army National Guard, developed the Buddy-to-Buddy program.

Veteran volunteers provide peer support and help finding resources to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan  with the issues surrounding reintegration.

Veterans with psychiatric illnesses may have increased suicide risk

Veterans diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, appear to have an elevated risk of suicide, according to a study led by Mark Ilgen, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School and research investigator with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The study, which appeared this month in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found male soldiers with bipolar disorder and female soldiers with substance abuse disorders may have a particularly high risk.



Editor, Carolyn Allen

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Publication Date: 11/9/2010
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