News & Media

Not sure if it’s cold, flu or breakthrough COVID-19? Experts say: Get tested

WRAIR building
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Bethney Ann Davidson, a risk communication specialist with the Army Public Health Center, initially thought she had a cold. She was experiencing a runny nose, headache and mild congestion that intensified over the period of two days. Davidson was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and took precautions when going out in public places. This included frequent hand washing, wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing at all times in crowds and inside buildings. “Common cold symptoms can mimic symptoms of mild cases of COVID-19,” said Dr. John Ambrose, Army Public Health Center senior advisor for Clinical Public Health & Epidemiology. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone who knows they have been exposed to COVID-19 should get tested 5-7 days following exposure.

Optimizing sleep as a Soldier: The science, challenges and significance

Soldier
SILVER SPRING, Md. — Sustained mental health is critical to establishing and maintaining a medically ready force, and sleep can play a part in protecting that readiness.  “We can do better for the next generation of Soldiers and address more components of readiness to improve the long-term health and resilience of Soldiers after they get out of the military,” said Dr. Janna Mantua, lead scientist of Operational Research at the Center for Military Psychiatry (CMPN) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. “They have an important job and we have to make sure they are taken care of.”

Optimizing sleep as a Soldier: The science, challenges and significance

A Soldier sleeps as he readies to deploy.

Sleep in the deployed environment and historical military attitudes

SILVER SPRING, Md. - Deployed Soldiers who may get only four to five hours of sleep per night do not receive as much of the end-of-night rapid eye movement sleep as someone who is getting seven to eight hours of sleep, which can affect daily performance and have a negative impact over time.

Nonlinear sleep-wake schedules are common in a deployed environment, which can be challenging to manage.

Optimizing sleep as a Soldier: The science, challenges and significance

A Soldier from Walter Reed Army Institute of Reseach demonstrates the use inside of the sleep suite facility.

The Science

SILVER SPRING, Md. - Imagine you start the day with your phone charged to 80%. However, there won’t be any outlets to recharge until the end of the day. Phone calls, text messages, social media breaks — it adds up. Will 80% be enough to last the average work day?

That is essentially how people function with even mild sleep debt, which is something most of us suffer from. A third of US adults report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention.

WRAIR Commemorates 9/11 with Remembrance Miles Event

Members from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research continue walk and ruck along the course during the 9/11 Remembrance Miles event at Forest Glen Annex, Sept. 10, 2021.  Soldiers, civilians, and community members took part in the event to honor the 2,977 lives lost 20 years ago by walking 2,977 miles in 24-hours.  Virtual participants could submit their miles through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using #WRAIRMiles or through the event email, WRAIR24HRRemembrancemiles@gmail.com.

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Members from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) hosted a 9/11 Remembrance Miles 24-Hour Walk/Run at Forest Glen Annex, Sept. 10-11, 2021.

The event was held to remember the 2,977 lives lost 20 years ago during the terrorist attacks by walking 2,977 miles in their honor. Soldiers, civilians and community members took part in the event, which consisted of participants walking, running or rucking in a loop around WRAIR.

WRAIR Continues Recruitment for COVID-19 Clinical Trial

Clinical trial volunteer (right) receives injection from nurse in personal protective equipment (left)
As the clinical trial for WRAIR’s unique COVID-19 vaccine enters its third month, volunteers are still needed. The vaccine, called spike ferritin nanoparticle (SpFN), offers a flexible approach to targeting multiple variants of SARS-COV-2 and potentially other coronaviruses as well. The phase 1 study is being conducted at WRAIR’s CTC and will enroll 72 healthy, adult volunteers ages 18-55. Volunteers must meet certain inclusion and exclusion criteria—most notably that they have never been infected with COVID-19 or received a COVID-19 vaccine. All volunteers will be financially compensated for their time. Ultimately, WRAIR hopes to transition its vaccine to protect not just from COVID-19 but from all coronavirus diseases, known and unknown, to end the current pandemic and prevent the next one from ever beginning.

Women Changing the Face of Science Leadership at WRAIR

Female Soldier in uniform standards in front of white-grey background
Throughout the month of March, WRAIR celebrates the women in and out of uniform who comprise, support and lead our institution. While some have given decades of service, others are just getting started in their careers. They are scientists, mentors and trailblazers, pushing the boundaries of science to develop new medical products to safeguard both Soldier and world health for a healthier, more equitable world.

WRAIR Minds - Resilience Podcast Hub

Soldier shooting weapon at a range

“WRAIR Minds” is the first WRAIR podcast, featuring mindfulness exercises to help improve Soldiers’ performance, attention, and well-being.  Interviews will showcase the work of mindfulness researchers, teachers and students, both in and out of the military.

Hosted by Capt. Thomas Nassif, the podcast stems from years of mindfulness research at WRAIR, which has found that mindfulness training and practice can offer mental, physical and performance benefits for Soldiers. 

Sleep Resources

Soldiers receive night fire missions in support of operations
Sleep is ammunition for the brain. All Soldiers need to be physically and psychologically strong and resilient. This is especially true of those Soldiers who operate at the “tip of the spear” as members of small teams in far-forward environments where the OPTEMPO is high, the margin for error is small, and the ability to access support functions (e.g., air support, evacuations, reinforcements) is lacking. The necessity for Soldier performance during nocturnal operations introduces an additional challenges for maintaining Soldier lethality. Ironically, although sleep is critical for sustaining military performance and effectiveness under such conditions, sleep loss is all but inevitable under such conditions. Sleep is also armor for the brain. Research shows that the more sleep that military personnel obtain, the better they perform and the less vulnerable they are to development of mental disorders like PTSD and depression. An emerging body of research also suggests that good sleep is linked to the body's ability to prevent and overcome infectious disease, further underscoring its importance to overall health.

Behavioral Health Resources for COVID-19

Army medical staff having a staff meeting in an ICU
As research at WRAIR progresses to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19 infection, it is also important to recognize the significant behavioral health toll brought upon by this crisis. WRAIR is working in concert with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command as part of the whole of United States government response to overcome the disease. This impact can be felt in a wide range of diverse groups: medical care providers on the front lines, struggling to cope with the influx of new cases; leaders trying to maintain morale and productivity in dispersed teams; workers struggling to adapt to the new realities of teleworking from home or individuals concerned about the health and safety of themselves and their families amidst the outbreak. Building on decades of experience in the field of sleep and performance, psychiatry, neuroscience and more, WRAIR scientists developed a range of checklists and other resources to help support behavioral health and well-being.