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November 2007
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What YOU Can Do To Get Better Migraine & Headache Treatments

Ahdalogoblock250 It's time for my promised update on Headache On the Hill. For those of you not familiar with Headache On the Hill -- a group of doctors, scientists, and patient advocates made a trip to DC in September to talk with Senators and members of the House about the dire need for an increase in NIH funding for basic headache and Migraine research. That basic research MUST be done if we're to have new and more effective treatments.

We're gearing up for the grassroots part of this campaign, and that's where each and every one of you come in. Since the Headache On the Hill participants were from several organizations -- the American Academy of Neurology, the American Headache Society, MAGNUM, the National Headache Foundation, the Headache Cooperative of New England, and others -- we've formed a new organization to continue the Headache On the Hill advocacy efforts. The new organization is the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy (AHDA). You can reach our web site at or   

What YOU Can  Do To Help

Visit the AHDA site, lood around, and sign-up for email updates. We will notify you by email when new information is added and when it's time to take action.

Please spread the word to your friends and family. You can download our flier and distribute it to friends, family, whomever you know to encourage them to participate in this project. Every single person counts, so please talk to everyone you know about this and give them a copy of the flier. CLICK HERE to  download the flier.

Early in 2008:

The most effective time to influence Congress is early in the year. So it will be crucial that as many emails as possible reach Congress at that time in order to affect the 2009 NIH budget. The AHDA website will make emailing Congress much easier for you. Our email notifications will prompt you to return to our site and email your members of Congress at the most effective time. Please ask your friends and loved ones to visit our site and email Congress as well.

I hope you'll all become involved in this important initiative. We all know how important it is that more effective treatments be found for Migraine disease and other headache disorders. But, without NIH funding, the basic research upon which other research depends will not be done. Senators and members of the House do listen to their constituents, so every single email to them will be vital. This is our chance to make a difference, and the AHDA is making it as easy as possible for everyone to participate. 

Please join us!

The Price of Migraine Medications and the 2008 Election

One of the biggest complaints Migraineurs have is access to Migraine abortive medications, especially the triptans - Imitrex, Maxalt, Zomig, etc.

The problem isn't getting a doctor to prescribe triptans. Doctors prefer to prescribe abortive medications that can actually stop a Migraine in its tracks rather than pain medications that can do nothing but mask the pain for a few hours.

So, what IS the problem? It all comes down to the price of triptans. Triptan prices range from $18 to $70 per dose, an average of $25 per dose, and Migraineurs frequently use two doses to treat a single Migraine attack. This presents us with two main problems:

Read Migraine Medication Prices and Election '08 to see how we can affect change!


Weather triggered Migraines - can we predict them?

For many of us, changes in the weather are a horrid Migraine trigger. Some doctors prescribe medications we can take in hopes of preventing Migraines when we know a weather change is coming. Even for those who don't take medications, it's helpful to know that a potential trigger is coming so we can be more prepared. The trick is knowing that weather change is on the way.

On the Weather Channel web site, a new tool is available that can help track what may be coming -- their Aches & Pains Forecast:

The Aches & Pains index forecasts the potential for weather-related pain issues on a scale of 0 - 10. The index is calculated using barometric pressure, absolutely humidity, chances of precipitation, temperature, and wind.

On the Weather Channel site, you can enter your zip code and save a page customized to your needs. If you're planning to travel, you can enter any zip code to check conditions at your destination.

How well doe the Aches & Pains Forecast work? I don't know yet, but I intend to use it and find out. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

For more information about weather as a trigger, see Migraines Often Triggered By Change In the Weather.

New Headache and Migraine Disease Blog Carnival

The holiday season can be a fun time of year filled with high expectations, special events, family and friends, and lots of great food. But it is also a minefield for headache and Migraine sufferers. The first edition of the Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival is filled with commiseration and ideas to help you cope.

A blog carnival is a blog "event" where blog entries from different bloggers, all on the same general theme, are featured. The Headache & Migraine Disease Blog is sponsored by Diana Lee on her wonderful blog, "somebody heal me." Thanks, Diana!

Visit the Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival!

Migraines, headaches, pain, and HOPE!

I spent last week in Dallas at Dr. John Claude Krusz's clinic, ANODYNE Headache and PainCare. Dr. Krusz and I have written Ask the Clinician for almost five years now, but this was the first chance I'd had to visit his clinic and observe him with patients.

Dr. K's patients were very gracious; all of them allowed me to sit in on their appointments. Listening to him review a new patient's medical history was a great reminder of how much other issues can impact Migraine, headaches, and pain. Dr. K. asks all of his patients about their sleep patterns and whether they or anyone in their family have a history of problems with thryoid, diabetes, or other endocrine disorders. Sleep is always one of the first issues he addresses, telling patients that good sleep is essential to their treatment.

Continue reading Migraines, headaches, pain, and HOPE!

For the Migraineurs in your life -- Great gifts under $20!

How is your holiday shopping coming? If you're like me, it seems to get more and more difficult to find the right gifts for everyone. And we all understand that finding appropriate gifts at reasonable prices is more difficult each year.

Let's see if we can make things a bit easier. I've been looking around the Internet and have some gift suggestions for the Migraineurs and headache sufferers in your life, each under $20.00...

Continue reading For the Migraineurs in your life -- Great gifts under $20!

Hemiplegic Migraine - Genetic Testing May Be Helpful

Hemiplegic Migraine (HM) is a rare subtype of Migraine with aura (MWA) that is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. There are two variations of HM:

  1. Familial Hemiplegic Migraine (FHM) runs in families.
  2. Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine (SHM) often has Migraine in the family history, but not HM. 

The symptom that differentiates HM from other types of Migraine is hemiparesis, which is temporary, one-sided paralysis or motor weakness. Otherwise, HM symptoms are the same as those of Migraine with aura. Most Migraineurs who have HM also have Migraine with or without aura.

Findings of a study performed in the Netherlands suggest that genetic testing could be helpful in properly diagnosing and appropriately treating hemiplegic Migraine...

Continue reading Hemiplegic Migraine - Genetic Testing May Be Helpful.

Famous Migraineurs Game - Have Some Fun!

Living with a disease like Migraine stinks! I'm not sure why it is, but we often find it interesting to know what famous people share in our misery. Can you name famous people who have or had Migraine disease? I'll give you a few...

  • Lisa Kudrow
  • Stephen King
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Elvis Presley

Here's a way to take your mind off things for a while and have some fun. Try our Name the Famous Migraineur Game!