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VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)

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VA Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (GWVI) Brain Bank


Investigator Access 

What's Available

  • Biospecimens: Post-mortem brain, spinal cord, and cerebral spinal fluid samples
  • Research data: Clinical data on individual donors to the brain bank

Available Documentation 

Data dictionary  

Dates Data are Available 

Currently available, no end date 

Access Criteria

VA and non-VA investigators may submit requests for biospecimens and data to the VA Biorepository Brain Bank (VABBB) via the Tissue Request Form. Investigators are highly encouraged to contact Dr. Ian Robey at 520-792-1450 ext. 4436 or before submitting an application. Applications may be submitted at any time and are reviewed monthly by a panel of subject matter experts and the VABBB Executive Committee. Final decisions about access are based on the qualifications of the investigator, scientific merit of the proposed research utilizing the tissue, quantities of tissue requested, statistical issues and availability of tissue. Investigators will be required to submit signed Material Transfer Agreements provided by the VABBB before specimens are shipped for approved requests.

More information is provided on the ‘For Investigators’ tab on the GWVI Brain Bank website

Study Characteristics 


To collect, process, store, and disseminate biospecimens and health information in support of research into the causes, progression, and treatment of Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses

Era of Service

Gulf War 


Veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War era, regardless of deployment status and use of VA health care system

Study Design 

Prospective cohort

Time Period 

July 2012 - present





Response Rate


Recruitment Method    

  • Veterans wishing to participate may contact the GWVI Brain Bank directly
  • Veterans are recruited by telephone and sent information by mail
  • Participants include those providing informed consent



Data Collected

  • Demographics
  • Medical history from VA electronic medical record (if present)
  • Health history and family health history
  • Gulf War symptoms
  • Military and occupational neurotoxicant exposures
  • Military service and combat exposure
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Health care utilization 
  • Biospecimens: brain and spinal cord tissue samples

Data Collection Methods

  • VA electronic medical record
  • Mailed questionnaire every six months
  • Upon death, biospecimens are collected at the closest VA Medical Center

Funding Source 

VA Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development Service


Primary Investigator: Ian Robey, PhD


Primary Investigator: Ian Robey,

Selected Publications 


More Information

GWVI Biorepository Brain Bank website