PTSD Research

PTSD Research

Since 2013, RSL (Queensland Branch) has committed $6.75 million to the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) to provide funding for world first research into PTSD.

The first clinical research study, currently underway at GMRF, is a world-first project focusing on Vietnam veterans. Researchers are examining the science behind PTSD combined with a thorough investigation of the genetics and long term physical effects of the illness. 

It is estmated that over 1 million Australians suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives

Initial study findings

Preliminary top-level results have been released, and while further test results are pending, key findings have revealed that veterans with PTSD have:

  • More than triple the risk of acting out their dreams while asleep.
  • Twice the chance of being diagnosed with sleep apnoea.
  • Almost two times the tendency of restless legs.
  • Increased daytime fatigue and sleepiness.
  • Two times the chance of suffering stomach ulcers
  • Double the chance of reflux
  • Greater tendency to report constipation, diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome
  • A four-fold higher risk of heart attack in the past
  • Lower levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol which contributes to an increased risk of heart disease.

Further detail on the initial findings is available through the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation.

Why the researchers started here

The initial 12-month focus of the project is to better understand the genetics and long-term physical impacts of PTSD through the study involving Vietnam Veterans.

Research participants include 150 Vietnam veterans who have suffered with PTSD, as well as 150 who have never been diagnosed with PTSD. Comparison of these two groups will enable GMRF researchers to understand how the disease affects a person’s overall health.

By working with Vietnam veterans, researchers will have a true 360 degree view of the effects of PTSD over a forty year period. What they learn from this study can then inform future studies, which will help to develop improved treatments and interventions for our younger diggers.

Ian Chappell (Ambassador, PTSD Initiative) recently took time to speak to some of the Vietnam veteran research participants about why they believe this research is so important.


There’s a whole load of guys coming back who don’t understand why their lives have changed, their families have broken up or whatever. This is important for our future, for future generations.

It’s vital that research is done, the same as liver research or cancer research. This is just as important” – Alan Dorber OAM (Vietnam War veteran and research participant)

Click here to watch more interviews about the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation.

This is research to restore lives

The results of this study will go on to inform future studies, starting in 2015, which will focus on our younger diggers and the effect PTSD has on families.

At least 4,000 Australian veterans of the war in Afghanistan alone have - or will develop - PTSD

This research - conducted right here in Queensland, Australia - can serve as the catalyst for improving the treatment and prevention of the illness worldwide.

About the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation

Gillipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) LogoThe Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) is a not-for-profit organisation based at Greenslopes Private Hospital, a former repatriation hospital that still retains its strong links with our veteran community. They have brought together an impressive group of medical specialists and researchers to collaborate on this work including experts in: liver disease, heart disease, psychiatry, sleep and respiratory medicine, and genetics.

GMRF are in a unique position to deliver outcomes from vital research such as this and RSL Queensland are proud to support their efforts.

To learn more, visit the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation website or follow the PTSD Initiative on Facebook