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Oxygen for Cluster Headache: Ask Your Senator to Sign!

A few hours remain to ask your senator to sign the letter requesting Medicare to reconsider covering oxygen for cluster headache! Please take 60 seconds to do so: just follow this link. The deadline for senators to sign has been extended to tomorrow, Thursday, May 22 at 5 p.m. ET.

The following senators have already signed on:

  • Coons (D-DE)
  • Johanns (R-NE)
  • Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Durbin (D-IL)
  • Tester (D-MN)
  • Warren (D-MA)
  • Markey (D-MA)
  • Fischer (R-NE)
  • Merkley (D-OR)
  • Manchin (D-WV)
  • Pryor (D-AR)

Several more are on the verge of signing, but need a little encouragement. Please make your voice heard — it will literally take a minute to improve the lives of people who are severely disabled by this horrendously painful headache disorder.

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An Urgent Request for Cluster Headache Treatment

Oxygen is one of the few effective cluster headache treatments, a viciously painful headache disorder that can be disabling. Several years ago, Medicare decided to stop covering it for cluster patients. The American Headache Society appealed to no avail. Now, Nebraska Senator Johanns and Delaware Senator Coons are trying to get the decision reversed and are currently circulating a letter for other senators to sign. The more senators who sign the letter, the higher the chance of success.

Please contact your senator TODAY to ask them to sign the letter requesting that Medicare reconsider covering oxygen for cluster headache treatment. And I do mean today — senators must sign the letter before 5 p.m. ET on Monday, May 19 Thursday, May 22. All you have to do is follow this link, fill out the form and click “submit.” The next page lists your senators as recipients and has a letter already written. You can edit the letter, if you’d like, or just add your name at the bottom and click “submit.” That’s it. I just did it and it literally took less than a minute.

Even if you don’t have cluster headache, please submit a request in the spirit of solidarity. Any recognition of the severity of any headache disorder and improving access to treatment is a win for all of us.

5/19/14: The deadline for senators to sign has been extended from today to Thursday. If you haven’t submitted your comment, you still have time! As of 8 p.m. ET today, nine senators have agreed to sign the letter.

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Acupuncture for Migraine Only a Placebo?

The American Headache Society supports that Traditional & “Sham” Acupuncture Both Effective for Migraine Relief. In contrast, after reviewing the studies mentioned in the AHS press release, Steven Novella of NeuroLogica Blog claims that the American Headache Society Recommends Placebos for Migraine. He writes,

Studies show that sham acupuncture is as effective as true acupuncture, and Dr. Dodick concludes from this that both work. The proper scientific interpretation of this result is that the treatment (acupuncture) is no different than placebo (sham acupuncture) and therefore has only a placebo effect.

Novella’s argument is sound and I agree with his conclusions. What intrigues me is why the American Headache Society and its president, David Dodick, are touting the benefits for acupuncture when the science is weak. Is it that there are so few effective treatments for migraine that even those without strong evidence are considered worthwhile?

It reminds me of when I was considering Botox injections and was surprised to find that studies only showed minor reductions in headache days of participants. From headlines, you’d think Botox had eradicated migraine, but studies have had only modest results.

The paltry options for treating migraine and the lack of funding for migraine research are disheartening. Urge Congress to take notice by signing the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy’s petition.

 Thanks to reader C. Peterson for sharing NeuroLogica Blog’s post.