By

Runnin’ for Research: Raise Money for Headache Disorder Research

runnin-for-researchOctober 8 is the date to participate in Runnin’ for Research! Three cities will host a 5K run and one-mile walk to raise money for research into headache and migraine disorders.

Runnin’ for Research was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2015. It’s mission is to further “research, awareness, empowerment and advocacy in all areas of headache and migraine disorders.” The organization raised donated $17,434 to the American Migraine foundation in 2015 and $6,313 to AMF in 2014. Dr. David B. Watson, Teri Robert, and Dr. Brian Plato lead Runnin’ for Research.

Here are the details on this year’s races:

Date: Saturday, October 8
Sign-in Time: 8 a.m.
Walk/Run Time: 9:30 a.m.
Registration: $20 (T-shirts are guaranteed for everyone who registers for an in-person race before October 1.) To register, click on the city names below.

  • Kansas City/Parkville, Missouri: English Landing Park, Parkville, MO, 64152
  • Morgantown, West Virginia: Cheat Lake Park, Morgan Run Road Morgantown, WV, 26508 (The course is a packed limestone trail that is largely flat and shaded. It runs along Cheat Lake.)
  • Louisville/Jeffersontown, Kentucky: Sky View Park, 10416 Watterson Trail Jeffersontown, KY, 40299 (The course is a mostly flat asphalt trail.)
  • Virtual Race: Sign up as a virtual runner if you’re unable to attend a race (use any of the registration forms linked to above). You can run or walk in your hometown that day or just donate your registration fee to support this great cause. Virtual runners will not receive T-shirts.

Questions? Visit Runnin’ for Research’s website or email RunninForResearch@yahoo.com for more information.

By

Art Taught Scientists About Migraine’s Pathophysiology

Well before the use of MRI and fMRIs, drawings of visual auras gave researchers an indication of what happens in the brain at the onset of a migraine. These artistic representations – the most helpful of which were drawn by scientists who have migraine with aura – have led to crucial discoveries about the pathophysiology of migraine.

The most notable discovery is of the involvement of cortical spreading depression, now understood to be a key component of how migraine spreads through the brain. (Maggie Koerth-Baker’s elegant description of cortical spreading depression is “…electrical stimulation and depression moving through the cerebral cortex. Think about it like a wave, with a crest where electrical impulses are stronger than normal, followed by a trough where they are lower than normal.”)

An academic paper exploring the connection between drawings of visual auras and migraine research developments was published in the journal Brain in 2007. I learned about that paper when Boing Boing reported on it this week. Both are worth a read, though the Boing Boing article is much easier to get through.

This is a fascinating investigation even for those of us who don’t have visual auras. I love the idea artistic representations created by migraineurs played a pivotal role in understanding migraine.

By

Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Migraine

Thinking about trying a nerve stimulator to treat chronic migraine? Ask tons of questions beforehand to help ensure you’re making the most informed decision possible. I’ve brainstormed questions to ask your doctor, other patients, and even yourself in Nerve Stimulation: Questions to Ask, my latest post on Migraine.com.

You can learn about my experience with occipital nerve stimulation and what the research says in my posts on Migraine.com from earlier this summer. If you’re curious what I had to say when I still thought mine worked, check out the archive of my nerve simulation posts on The Daily Headache.

By

Participate in a Research Survey on Chronic Migraine & Couples

Everyone with chronic migraine knows it takes a massive toll on romantic relationships and families, but there’s little research on the topic. Here’s your chance to help remedy that. Karen Bacher, a migraineur and family studies PhD student at the University of New Mexico, is recruiting couples to complete an online survey to study the impact of migraine on the families of women with chronic migraine. By sharing her findings, she hopes to raise awareness among health care providers, counselors, and patients’ families.

Participants need to be married or cohabitating heterosexual couples between the ages of 21 and 55. The female must have chronic migraine, while their male partner must not have migraine. Partners will complete an online survey separately, which takes about 45 minutes per person. At the end of the survey, participants will have the option of entering a drawing for a $100 Visa gift card.

Couples interested in participating may contact Karen at bacher@unm.edu for full eligibility criteria, benefits of participation, and the survey link.

Although I haven’t seen the survey, I’ve been emailing with Karen and am really excited about this research project, which is for her dissertation. I believe Karen “gets” the severity and impact of migraine and genuinely wants to do her part to improve the lives of chronic migraineurs. In case you’re not sure, it may help to know she’s had migraine for 29 years and gets no relief from medication, while her sister is disabled due to migraine.

I’m unable to participate because Hart has episodic migraine, but I urge you to do so if you fit the criteria. Understanding the weight of chronic migraine on families and romantic relationships is one crucial element in de-stigmatizing this illness. It could also improve our care from doctors and therapists. And, of course, anything that helps families better comprehend the plight of migraine is a boon to all migraineurs.

By

Reviewing the Research on Nerve Stimulation

Curious about nerve stimulation for chronic migraine and what the research has to say? For Nerve Stimulation Research, my latest post on Migraine.com, I pored over all the published research, hoping to summarize it neatly, but the findings are too ambiguous to do so. Instead, I explain some of the reasons why older published studies aren’t generalizable and summarize findings from recent large-scale studies with control groups.