Removing the stigma of migraine and encouraging more scientists to research the condition could help advance the treatment and prevention of migraine. Experts across the research and public health spectrum discussed potential solutions at a congressional briefing hosted by Research!America titled “The Value of Research and Prevention in Addressing the Societal Burden of Migraine” on June 15. The briefing focused on interventions and the necessity of research for a disease that is severely underfunded relative to its burden on society.
Walter Koroshetz, M.D., director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) emphasized that there have been developments in effective treatments to combat migraine, but “we still don’t have a really good sense of what causes the migraine,” he added.
Migraine sufferers miss twice as many workdays as those who do not suffer from migraines, said Brian Gifford, Ph.D., director of research and measurement, Integrated Benefit Institute. He discussed the implications of workforce productivity of migraine sufferers. “If [employers] are able to help people manage their conditions better…they really can have a business advantage,” he noted.
Amaal Starling, M.D., a neurologist and migraine specialist at the Mayo Clinic, said just two-percent of migraine sufferers are currently receiving effective treatments. Lack of research funding has led to gaps in treatment, she concluded. Jaime Sanders, a migraine patient advocate, echoed Dr. Starling’s comments and stated her goal is “to put migraine and other headache disorders on the forefront to gain access to treatment, research and support.” Panel moderator Mary Franklin, executive director of the National Headache Foundation, said she hopes more young investigators will research the causes of migraine.
Click here for photos from the event.