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Research at NCIRE

NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Linda Chao, PhD

Assistant Research Scientist, Radiology Service, SFVAHCS
Associate Adjunct Professor of Radiology and Psychiatry, UCSF

Searching for Early Signs of Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

My primary area of research focuses on combining neuropsyhological and imaging techniques to characterize how normal aging, neurodegenerative processes, stress, and exposure to neurotoxins affect the brain and cognition. We and others have found evidence of brain atrophy and cognitive impairment of Gulf War veterans with suspected low-level exposure to sarin and cyclosarin. A current project, funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, seeks to replicate and extend these previous findings in a new sample of 150 Gulf War veterans from the exposure zone and 150 unexposed matched veterans with cognitive tests, structural, and diffusion tensor imaging. Another project, funded by the US Army Military Operational Medicine Research Program, is investigating the links between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dementia. A study from this project revealed evidence that hippocampal volume is inversely related to PTSD duration.

To see Dr. Chao on Pub Med, click here.