DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Alleviating Headache and Pain in GWI with Neuronavigation-Guided rTMS

Principal Investigator: LEUNG, ALBERT
Institution Receiving Award: VETERANS MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION OF SAN DIEGO
Program: GWIRP
Proposal Number: GW150133
Award Number: W81XWH-16-1-0754
Funding Mechanism: Innovative Treatment Evaluation Award
Partnering Awards:
Award Amount: $762,711.18


PUBLIC ABSTRACT

A high percentage of either retired or active military personnel who have served in the 1990-1991 Gulf War suffer from chronic headaches and muscle and joint pain associated with a syndrome known as Gulf War illness (GWI). Unfortunately, drug treatments for GWI-related headache and body pain have not been shown to be effective, and drugs such as morphine are habit-forming and contain long-term abusive side effects. Recently, the use of non-invasive brain stimulation such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has yielded favorable clinical outcome in a few chronic central pain conditions including pain related to strokes and headaches. The treatment has been shown to be effective in reducing mild traumatic brain injury-related headaches. The treatment, which usually is non-painful and requires no anesthesia, utilizes a coil to non-invasively create a small current in a specific brain region for pain relief. This 2-year study aims to assess the effect and explore the therapeutic mechanisms of rTMS in reducing GWI-related headache, muscle and joint pains, and other debilitating symptoms in mood, attention, and sleep.