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War Related Illness and Injury Study Center


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Volunteer for Research at CA WRIISC


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For general information about WRIISC or participating in research:

The WRIISC conducts research studies for illnesses and injuries affecting Veterans of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield (ODS/DS) (1990-1991 Persian Gulf War), OEF (Afghanistan), OIF/OND (Iraq) and other conflict eras. The CA WRIISC is investigating new treatments for chronic pain in ODS/DS Veterans, mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Posttramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and working to improve diagnostic tools for brain injury. If you are interested in participating in any of the research projects outlined below, please contact the study team using the information provided for each project or the study flyer.

Please note that the studies below are located in Palo Alto, CA and most require travel to the VA Palo Alto facility in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.

Chronic Pain Studies

  • Yoga and Group Treatment for Chronic Pain in Gulf War Veterans - This study is no longer enrolling participants.

    Principal Investigator: Peter Bayley, PhD

    Co-Investigator: Louise Mahoney, MS, RYT

    Project Coordinator: Rachael Cho, MSEd

    Background: Many Veterans from the first Gulf War (1990-1991) have reported negative health consequences including chronic symptoms (fatigue, pain and cognitive disturbances) commonly referred to as Gulf War Illness (GWI). No clear cause or effective treatment has yet been identified.

    Purpose: We will compare two non-drug treatments for chronic pain in GWI: Yoga and a pain management wellness group for chronic pain. Both treatment groups will meet for one session per week for 10 weeks. Follow-up interviews will be given at 18, 26, and 34 weeks.

    Eligibility: You may be eligible for a non-drug study involving group yoga or a pain management wellness group if you:

    • have chronic pain and
    • served in the military in 1990-1991, regardless of deployment

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Gulf War Illness Studies

  • Yoga and Group Treatment for Chronic Pain in Gulf War Veterans (see details under Chronic Pain Studies)
  • Communication Study for Gulf War Veterans

    Principal Investigator (CA Site) : Peter Bayley, PhD

    Project Coordinator: Melinda Wong

    Purpose: Many Gulf War Veterans experience problems with fatigue, trouble concentrating, and muscle/joint pain (also known as Gulf War Illness). We are conducting a communication study to learn how health care providers and Gulf War Veterans think and talk about Gulf War Illness. Eligibility: Seeking Veterans who served in the Gulf War who have an upcoming appointment with a health care provider at the primary care clinic or at the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC).

    The study will be located at the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, 3801 Miranda Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94304 Compensation will be provided for completion of study visits and surveys.

    For more information or to participate, please contact the study team at is 650-304-1517.

    Research Flyer
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Studies

  • Breathing Meditation for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

    Principal Investigator: Peter J. Bayley, PhD

    Project Coordinator: Julia Tang

    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine whether a breathing meditation technique (Sudarshan Kriya Yoga; SKY) provides a treatment benefit that is as effective as the standard psychotherapy (Cognitive Processing Therapy – CPT-C). Participants' PTSD symptoms will be assessed before treatment, at the end of treatment, one month after treatment and 12 months after treatment.

    Eligibility: Veterans with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
    (e.g. re-experiencing a traumatic event, avoiding stressful situations, negative feelings, sleep problems, unable to relax)

    The study will be located at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System at 3801 Miranda Avenue, Palo Alto, CA.
    $400 will be provided for completing the entire study.

    For more information or to participate, please contact the study team at 650-785-6661 and visit the study website.

    Research Flyer
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Traumatic Brain Injury & Imaging Studies

  • Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Improve Cognitive Function in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

    Principal Investigator: Maheen M. Adamson, PhD

    Background: Many returning OEF/OIF personnel and Veterans with concussion histories report cognitive problems that may last for months or even years. The most common cognitive difficulties faced by Veterans with TBI include impaired attention, impaired verbal fluency, poor planning, reduced working memory, and reduced mental flexibility. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a method of delivering therapeutic, non-invasive brain stimulation that is currently being studied at the VA Palo Alto for treatment of pain and depression.

    Purpose: The proposed study will evaluate the efficacy and durability of benefits of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) as a promising non-invasive therapeutic treatment for executive function deficits seen in Veterans with mild to moderate TBI patients who may have co-morbid PTSD.


    • Age 20-65years
    • History of TBI
    • Additional eligibility criteria:
      • Ability to obtain a Motor Threshold (MT) will be determined during the screening process
      • If on a psychotropic medication regimen, that regimen will be stable for at least 4 weeks prior to entry to the study and patient will be willing to remain on a stable regimen during the acute treatment phase
      • Has an adequately stable condition and environment to enable attendance at scheduled clinic visits
      • For female participants, agrees to use an acceptable methods of birth control
      • Able to read, verbalize understanding, and voluntarily sign the Informed Consent Form
      • Additional eligibility criteria pertain to MRI safety screening

    To participate: Please contact us at (650) 650-852-3233

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  • Neurocorrelates of Cognition in Veterans Seen by the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC)

    Principal Investigator: Maheen M. Adamson, PhD

    Co-investigator: Ansgar Furst, PhD

    This project is collecting structural brain data (including Diffusion Tensor Imaging), functional brain data (including task-related and resting state fMRI pilot data on working memory, emotional-regulation, and memory tasks) in Veterans that participate in the clinical WRIISC program and non Veteran subjects in the community. We would like to establish research based protocols that will help provide answers to the complex problems our Veterans face (such as PTSD & TBI) and help focus research questions for future grants.

Other Veteran Studies

  • Clinical Data Collection for Patients Seen in the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (CA)

    Principal Investigators: J. Wesson Ashford, MD, PhD and Ansgar Furst, PhD

    The purpose of this on-going project is to study and make recommendations regarding treatment of deployment related injuries and illnesses. One of the objectives of the WRIISC is to evaluate Veterans with multiple unexplained symptoms and/or treatment resistant symptoms and educate other health providers about war related illnesses and injuries. We collect and store data from WRIISC patients for analysis in order to provide information to clinicians treating combat veterans. Stored data includes brain scans, neuropsychological tests, and other information from the patient's clinical evaluation.

    This project is not recruiting subjects who are not referred to the WRIISC clinical evaluation program.