THUMBS DOWN to the findings of a landmark study about the lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder in Vietnam War veterans.

The study, known as the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study, was presented last week at the American Psychological Association in Washington, D.C. It followed up on more than 2,300 Vietnam veterans who were the subject of a similar report that concluded in the late 1980s.

The earlier study found that about 31 percent of Vietnam veterans had suffered from PTSD at some point. By the end of the study, about half of the veterans were no longer experiencing symptoms.

The latest research, however, found that 11 percent of the group still is suffering from PTSD, raising questions about the effectiveness of treatment.

The study also found that Vietnam veterans with PTSD were twice as likely to die as those without the condition.

The findings have clear implications for the future. Somewhere between 13 percent and 20 percent of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have or may develop PTSD, according to a 2012 report from the Institute of Medicine. That’s as many as half a million veterans who will need treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Some say the study is an indication that perhaps PTSD is being overdiagnosed, or that disability payments form an incentive to remain in treatment.

Whatever the case, the study’s findings reaffirm that the impact of war reverberates long after the fighting has stopped.

THUMBS UP to Augusta’s promising efforts to shrink the gap in available housing for low-income seniors.

The City Council voted last week to move forward with a project to put 47 units of affordable housing in the former Hodgkins Middle School — 37 one-bedroom apartments and 10 efficiencies targeted to seniors making 60 percent of the city’s median income, which was $35,000 a year in 2012.

The project is being developed by the Augusta Housing Authority, with developer Kevin Bunker as a consultant.

The Hodgkins school project comes on the heels of a similar effort for redeveloping the Cony High School flatiron building into 48 apartments for seniors. That project, by Cynthia Taylor of Housing Initiatives of New England, is slated to be completed by next year.

There is a significant need for senior housing throughout the state. In Augusta alone, it is estimated that there will be demand to house 192 additional senior renters in the next five years.

In addition, both projects will make use of formerly public buildings that were simply collecting dust.

THUMBS DOWN to revelations that Richard E. Fowler Jr., fired last week after about three months as fire chief in Skowhegan, is connected to a criminal investigation involving missing money from a fund at his former fire department in New Hampshire.

The attorney for Strafford County confirmed the investigation, which is looking into funds stolen from the Farmington Volunteer Fire Department Association in Farmington, N.H., where Fowler served as fire chief for 10 years immediately prior to coming to Skowhegan.

The attorney declined to identify the target of the investigation, but a volunteer firefighter with the department said Fowler allegedly deposited revenues into association accounts only to personally withdraw the money later. The association was forced to dissolve because of the lost funds, the firefighter said.

Skowhegan officials said Fowler received a thorough background check before being hired. But it appears the investigation was hardly a secret, and there should have been indications to the hiring committee that Fowler was leaving his last job under a cloud.

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