for people ages 18-65 (full criteria)
at San Francisco, California
study started
estimated completion
David L Pennington, Ph.D.



This study will establish the acceptability and feasibility of enrolling and retaining heavy drinking Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in an 8-week, randomized cross-over design trial of active VR working memory retraining (WMR). This study will also seek to establish the efficacy of active VR-WMR to increase performance in executive function.

Official Title

Effects of Active Virtual Reality Working Memory Retraining on Heavy Drinking Veterans With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury


The investigators will employ a physically active VR working memory retraining (VR-WMR) regimen utilizing components of Blue Goji VR Active Gaming. The synthesis of physical activity and an enriched VR environment is expected to yield superior working memory training stemming from greater neurological activation. This enhanced working memory training task will result in greater motivation to engage and complete a training regimen, thus fostering greater improvements in executive function than traditional working memory training tasks; ultimately resulting in increased self-control over alcohol use and other high-risk behaviors.


Alcohol Use Disorder Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Traumatic Brain Injury Working Memory Training Virtual Reality Physical Exercise Brain Injuries Brain Injuries, Traumatic Brain Concussion Alcoholism Alcohol Drinking VR-WMR-Only Exercise-only Active VR-WMR


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18-65

  • must report "heavy" drinking by NIH/NIAAA criteria (>7 drinks/week for women; >14 drinks/week for men) for at least one week in the last 90 days
  • must meet moderate to severe criteria for current (past year) alcohol use disorder (AUD) by DSM-5
  • must express a desire to reduce, stop, or maintain cessation of alcohol use
  • must report a history of TBI as defined by American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), in the chronic, stable phase of recovery (>6 months from injury)

You CAN'T join if...

  • Unstable medical or psychiatric disorders judged to be unstable in the clinical judgment of the PI
  • Current or past history of intrinsic cerebral tumors, HIV infection, cerebrovascular accident, aneurysm, arteriovenous malformations, myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular or peripheral vascular disease, type-1 diabetes, any cardiac, hepatic or renal diseases/disorders, surgical implantation of neurostimulators or cardiac pacemakers, medically diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, demyelinating and neurodegenerative diseases, history of seizure disorder, and/or any physical disability making it impossible to use exercise equipment
  • No female participant will be pregnant or attempting to conceive
  • Concurrent participation in an AUD, cognitive training, or exercise study
  • Must not require acute medical detoxification from alcohol (CIWA-AD > 11) within the past week prior to study entry
  • Subjects who, in the opinion of the investigator, are otherwise unsuitable for a study of this type will be excluded


  • VA Medical Center San Francisco accepting new patients
    San Francisco California 94121 United States

Lead Scientist


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Study Type
Last Updated