THE PAIN CHRONICLE – Wiley and elusive: That’s how some researchers characterize migraine, a serious condition first described by Hippocrates in 400 BC for its extreme symptoms including severe headache, pain, numbness, nausea and sensitivity to light.
Although many advances have been recorded since then, there is general agreement that research needs exceed patient demand and funding support.
“People that say migraine is not a serious problem,” says Dr. Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology at King’s College London, who notes that such a statement can only be made by someone that hasn’t experienced migraine or ever met anyone who did.”
It’s not a condition one forgets, according to experts scheduled to appear at the Virtual Migraine World Summit taking place March 17 to March 25.
The event provides an important opportunity to close the gap between existing knowledge and patient care, as well as a chance for migraine sufferers to gain access to world-class researchers, doctors and specialists. The Summit is free, but pre-registration is required, according to organizers.
The disability is relevant, according to Dr. Joel Saper, the Founder and Director of the Michigan Headache & Neurological Institute, who says it’s up to experts, like those assembled at the 6th Annual World Migraine Summit, to help people come out of the experience more self-dependent, functional — and happier.
“The more you (migraine sufferers) know about your particular type of migraine and attacks over your life, the better you will do,” says Dr. Allan Purdy, Professor of Neurology, Dalhouse University Center.
EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT’S KNOWN
Researchers know that migraine is frequently hereditary (90% have a family history), impacts more women (18%) than men (6%), is more common among those 18 to 44 years of age and can get increasingly worse over time.
If you experience 15 or more migraine episodes per month, you stand among the 2.5% of individuals that migraine researchers class as being in the chronification phase.
Migraine has the potential to put the brake on major activities including work and is a leading cause of disability claims. Although research varies, it is generally agreed that migraine ranks as the second or third highest cause of disability claims.
We know that prescribed medications do not always stop the migraine cycle and, in some cases, even increases its frequency, according to a published report in Nature.
CBD is among treatments on the horizon. Although numerous studies have shown promising results, more rigorous clinical studies are needed, according to published reports in Forbes.
EXPLORING THE UNKNOWN
But there is hope, according to some health experts. They say that among a newer class of preventive drugs generating excitement there are calcitonin gene-related peptide (CRGP) inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies that block a pathway involved in the migraine process, and Ubrogepant (Ubrelvy) and Rimegepant (Nurtec), both in a class of oral medications called “gepants,” a small molecule CGRP receptor antagonist.
Lasmiditan (Reyvow) is also showing promise but is a controlled substance that cannot be used if you plan to drive or operate machinery within eight hours of consumption, according to a report published in Neurology Today.
Headache says that stress, often thought to be one of the catalysts behind migraine episodes, is the root cause of fewer than 10% of cases of migraine.
Although headway is being made by the 700 million practicing headache specialists in the United States today, there are more than 39 million potential patients vying for their services.
About 50% of migraine sufferers are undiagnosed, according to the Migraine Research Foundation, which reports that many suffer silently and never receive treatment for the condition.
Whether an individual suffers a few episodes a month or more than 15, migraine is a debilitating condition and the third leading cause of disability worldwide, according to health experts.
FREE ACCESS TO EXPERTS
Numerous advances are underway, according to organizers of the Migraine World Summit who promise access to world-class experts, updates on treatment advances and research and strategies at its 6th annual event.
The summit brings together 32 experts, including doctors and specialists, who will share new treatments, research and strategies to help people improve their migraines and chronic headaches.
Each day of the Summit features a series of interviews with international experts who will answer key questions about migraine among a wide array of related topics. Participants can expect answers to questions like
● Why doesn’t migraine have a cure yet?
● What are the latest strategies for chronic migraine control?
● What causes migraine and its symptoms?
● How do you prevent an attack before it happens?
● How do you manage migraine triggered by changes in weather?
● Does Yoga help with migraine?
● Do any medications make migraine worse?
● What’s the link between migraine and autoimmune diseases?
● How do you juggle multiple health conditions and migraine?
● How does weight loss affect migraine disease?
Scheduled speakers include:
Jan Lewis Brandes, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology, Vanderbilt University
Carrie Dougherty, MD, FAHS, Associate Professor of Neurology, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
Melanie Whetzel, MA, CBIS, Lead Consultant, Cognitive/Neurological Team, Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
Katherine Hamilton, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, University of Pennsylvania
Shin Beh, MD, Founding Director, Vestibular and Neuro-Visual Disorders Clinic, UT Southwestern
Tissa Wijeratne, MD, FRACP, FAAN, Chair, Department of Neurology, Western Health, Melbourne, Australia
Sait Ashina, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School
Rebecca C. Burch, MD, FAHS, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dale Bond, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior (Research), The Miriam Hospital and Brown Alpert Medical School Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center
Peter McAllister, MD, Neurologist & Director, New England Center for Neurology and Headache
Catherine Stark, MD, Neurologist, Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia
Morris Levin, MD, Neurologist & Director, UC San Francisco Headache Center
Editor’s Note: The Virtual Migraine World Summit takes place March 17 – 25. Registration is required. Links to daily sessions will be provided in advance. Sessions can be viewed beginning at 3 p.m. EST daily and will be available for 24 hours immediately following.