for people ages 18-65 (full criteria)
at San Diego, California and other locations
study started
estimated completion:
Albert Leung



This study aims to assess the effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on Gulf War illness related headaches and pain.


Headaches (HA) and wide spread pain are some of the most common debilitating symptoms in Gulf War Veterans (GWV) with Gulf War Illness (GWI). Migraine like HA and diffuse body pain were detected in 64% of GWV with GWI. This high prevalence of chronic HA and diffuse body pain conditions are often associated with neuropsychological dysfunction in mood, attention, memory and other systemic symptoms, which cast a profound negative impact on patients' quality of life. Unfortunately, conventional pharmacological treatments for GWI related headaches and pain (GWI-HAP) has not been shown to be effective and drugs such as narcotics contain many long term untoward psychosomatic and abusive side effects. Therefore, developing and validating non-invasive and low risk innovative treatment for this patient population is warranted. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is currently a US FDA approved treatment for major depression and migraine HA.


Gulf War Syndrome Headache Gulf War Illness Muscle Pain Joint Pain TMS Persian Gulf Syndrome Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (sham) Repetitive TMS


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18-65

  • Male or female between ages 18-65
  • CDC Criteria for GWI
  • Kansas Criteria for GWI
  • International Headache Society Criteria for Migraine HA w/o aura
  • Average Headache Exacerbation Intensity >3 on 0-10 NPRS
  • Average Overall Daily Muscle Pain Intensity >3 on 0-10 NPRS
  • Average Overall Daily Extremities Joint Pain Intensity >3 on 0-10 NPRS
  • Headache Exacerbation/Attack ≥ 3 times/week, lasting >4 hrs in past 3 months

You CAN'T join if...

  • Pregnancy
  • History of pacemaker implant
  • Any ferromagnetic (e.g. bullet fragment, shrapnel, device implant) in the brain or body that will prohibit the patients from having a brain MRI
  • History of dementia, major psychiatric diseases, or life threatening diseases
  • Presence of any other chronic neuropathic pain states such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
  • History of seizure
  • Pending litigation
  • Low back pain with mechanical origins such as lumbar radiculopathy or radiculitis or lumbar facet arthropathy
  • Lack of ability to understand the experimental protocol and to adequately communicate in English
  • History of Traumatic Brain injury
  • Chronic Tension or Cluster Headache
  • Ongoing Cognitive Rehabilitation or Treatment of PTSD


  • Naval Medical Center San Diego accepting new patients
    San Diego California 92134 United States
  • Veteran Affairs Hospital accepting new patients
    San Diego California 92161 United States


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
Veterans Medical Research Foundation
Lead Scientist
Albert Leung
Study Type
Last Updated
April 2017