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News From the American Headache Society’s Annual Meeting

If I wait to write about news from the American Headache Society’s annual meeting in depth, it may never get posted. So here are the headlines and links to AHS’s press releases.

Insurance, Cost Issues Prevent People From Treating Migraines

Insurance companies often limit the number of migraine pills people are allowed each month, so many sufferers forgo taking the medication when they need it because they’re afraid of running out. . . .

That translates into many people unnecessarily living with potentially disabling migraine pain and suffering poorer quality of life than they would have if they took their medication when needed.

Killer Headaches Play Starring Role On The Silver Screen, But Don’t Reflect The Real World

Horrendous headaches make fabulous movie plot devices and are often the result of such dramatic situations as a tumor, toxic poisoning or device implanted in the brain, rather than something as banal as a migraine. . . .

“Yes, we know movies are fantasy, but they also are very effective at formulating public opinion. So many people already worry about what causes their headaches and this is not a good way to reassure them.”

In the real world, the vast majority of head pain is “primary,” meaning the cause typically is migraine, tension or cluster headache. Unlike in the movies, headaches are far less often due to “secondary” causes, such as head trauma, stroke, aneurysms, infection or tumors and never – at least to the knowledge of medical science – by a brain-control device.

Three-Item Questionnaire Helps School Nurses Identify Students With Migraines

A simple questionnaire can help school nurses identify students who get migraine headaches, a problem that affects one in 10 children and teens but often goes undiagnosed. The three-question Pediatric and Adolescent
Migraine Screen (PAMS) is an accurate measurement of migraine that easily can be used by school nurses. . . .

“Although PAMS is not a final diagnostic tool, using it to screen and possibly refer children for appropriate diagnosis of migraine can greatly improve these kids’ quality of life, including their ability to participate in school, sports and other extracurricular activities,” said Dr. Kabbouche.

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