Utah study: Will ‘mindfulness’ help Gulf War veterans sleep?
U. researchers will test if mindfulness therapy can help veterans who have difficulty sleeping.
By Kristen Moulton
| The Salt Lake Tribune
Many veterans of the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s suffer from mysterious symptoms — from fatigue to joint pain to indigestion to memory problems.
Now researchers at the University of Utah are taking a look at whether mindfulness therapy can help those veterans deal with one of their insidious burdens: disturbed sleep.
At a glance
To contact researchers
For more information about the study by the Utah Center for Exploring Mind-Body Interactions and to be considered as a participant, contact Yuri Kida at 801-585-7697,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yoshio Nakamura of the Utah Center for Exploring Mind-Body Interactions and study associates David Lipschitz and Yuri Kida are looking for 72 veterans of the Persian Gulf War — Operation Desert Storm — for a short research study.
"Sleep disturbance hasn’t been prominently recognized," says Nakamura. But a doctor who treats Gulf War vets in Salt Lake City suggested they take a look.
"He started to tell us, ‘All my Gulf War patients, they can’t sleep.’ "
So Nakamura got a grant from the Department of Defense, which, like the Department of Veterans Affairs, is puzzled by the inexplicable symptoms many veterans experience if they were in the Gulf in 1990 and 1991 with coalition forces, pushing Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.
His research is to determine whether mind-body bridging can help improve the sleep of those veterans.
Medical researchers in the 1970s began looking into medical uses for eastern religion techniques such as meditation and visual imagery. The idea is that physical and mental health are affected by emotional, social, spiritual and behavioral aspects of one’s life.
"It’s a therapy based on learning to be more aware of what’s going on in yourself," says Nakamura.
Participants will go to the Veterans Affairs George E. Wahlen Medical Center in Salt Lake City for a two-hour meeting once a week, for three consecutive weeks.