Migraine Pearls are awarded to the "gems" in the Migraine community for valuable, shining content and support... current and accurate information... things of value. Migraine Onions, on the other hand, are awarded to "stinky" things in the Migraine community — old or inaccurate content... things that perpetuate misconceptions and stigma rather than fighting them... worthless products, eBooks, etc... and more.
With the Internet, we have access to more information about Migraine than every before. Unfortunately, there's altogether too much inaccurate information about Migraine published online.
Today, I'm awarding a Migraine Onion to Bel Marra Health, a site they say they "established in 2004 as a solution to the community’s pressing health issues." More specifically, the Onion goes to Bel Marra and one of their "medical writers," Emily Lunardo, for the article, "Ocular migraine (retinal migraine) causes, symptoms, and treatment."
What's so bad about the article? Let me list some of the problems:
- Every field of medicine has a method of standardizing diagnoses. That keeps things organized and let's people make sense of things. In the field of "headache medicine," the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) is the gold standard. It's now in its third edition (ICHD-3).
- The diagnosis of "ocular Migraine" doesn't exist in ICHD-3.
- Retinal Migraine is a recognized diagnosis in ICHD-3, BUT the Bel Marra article is horribly inaccurate in its description of retinal Migraine and its symptoms.
- Bel Marra said, "Ocular migraine (retinal migraine) is a temporary disturbance of vision, affecting one or both eyes." ICHD-3 says, "Aura consisting of fully reversible monocular (in one eye) positive and/or negative visual phenomena (e.g. scintillations, scotomata or blindness)..."
- Bel Marra said, "Generally, ocular migraines will resolve on their own within 30 minutes without medications." This is inaccurate. The aura symptoms last five to 60 minutes.
- Bel Marra said, "If an episode of ocular migraine is followed by a headache experienced on one side of the head, this is known as migraine with aura, and the visual disturbances are then known as the aura, rather than ocular migraine." Again, inaccurate. Retinal Migraine can and does occur with headache. The ICHD-3 says, "the aura is accompanied, or followed within 60 minutes, by headache."
This kind of misinformation being published on line is absurd. There's no reason for it. Ms. Lunardo is supposed to be a medical writer. I'd suggest that she take whatever she was paid for this and invest it in some educational resources. Of course, the very resource that could have helped with the accuracy of this piece, the ICHD-3, is available ONLINE AND FREE! There's just no excuse for this shoddy piece.
In addition to awarding this onion, I call on Bel Marra Health to either remove this article from their web site or have it corrected.
If you'd like accurate, physician reviewed information about retinal Migraine, see Retinal Migraine - The Basics.
Do you have someone you'd like to nominate for a Migraine Pearl or a Migraine Onion? If you do, I'd love to hear from you. You can email me by clicking the "Email Me" button in the right column of this blog.
because a migraine is NOT "just a headache"