Migraine is not just a bad headache. It is an extremely debilitating collection of neurological symptoms that usually includes a severe recurring intense throbbing pain on one side of the head (although in 1/3 of migraine attacks, both sides are affected). Attacks generally last between 4 and 72 hours, and in addition to head pain, are often accompanied by one or more of the following: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face. Of course, everyone is different, and symptoms vary by person and sometimes by attack.
Why is migraine such a challenging disease to treat?
Migraine is difficult to treat because it is a moving target: symptoms are hard to evaluate and can change from one attack to the next. Diagnosing someone with migraine can be quite difficult. Since symptoms vary widely, migraine is often misdiagnosed and about half of all sufferers are never diagnosed. Diagnosing a migraine involves analyzing the symptoms, conducting medical tests, and eliminating other possible causes of the headache. Some people suffer from several different types of migraine and/or headaches, making diagnosis and effective treatment that much more difficult.
What are the social and economic implications of migraine?
The social and economic costs are enormous. About 36 million Americans - roughly 10% of the total population - suffer from migraine. American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to headache or migraine. Around 14 million people suffer from chronic daily headache, when attacks come nealy daily and treatment is extremely difficult and costly. Chronic headache sufferers are part of the legions of Americans with chronic pain who consume an enormous amount of healthcare services, with an estimated annual cost of $50 billion. And socially, in addition to the attack-related disability itself, many sufferers live in fear, knowing that at any time an attack could disrupt their ability to work or go to school, care for their families or enjoy social activities.
Who is most affected by migraine?
Migraine affects people of all ages. However, women are disproportionately affected, with approximately 27 million sufferers in the United States. Three times as many women as men suffer from migraine in adulthood. Many people are surprised to learn that about 10% of school-age children suffer from migraine. Half of all migraine sufferers have their first attack before the age of 12. Children who suffer are absent from school twice as often as children without migraine.
About the Migraine Research Foundation (MRF)
What is the Migraine Research Foundation?
The Migraine Research Foundation is the only organization whose sole purpose is to raise funds for innovative scientific research to further the understanding of the causes of migraine, to develop improvements in treatments for sufferers, and to find the cure. MRF provides more funding for migraine research than any other 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the U.S.
How is MRF filling the funding gap?
In spite of the vast prevalence of migraine and its serious and debilitating effects, migraine is still a poorly understood disease. Basic scientific research into its underlying causes is severely under-funded. At present, NIH funding for migraine research is $9 million – less than 0.03% of the annual NIH research budget. MRF's goal is to fill this critical gap in migraine research.
Where does MRF's funding come from?
The Migraine Research Foundation has the support of an expanding donor base dedicated to funding innovative migraine research. MRF's operating costs are completely underwritten, so 100% of all contributions go where they are needed most-directly to migraine research.
About the Migraine Research Foundation Grants
How does MRF determine which grants it will fund?
MRF has a distinguished medical advisory board comprised of fourteen of the nation's pre-eminent migraine doctors and researchers. They review and discuss all grant proposals, considering their innovation, importance, achievability, and relevance to advancing the science of migraine medicine, and advise MRF's Board of Directors in making funding decisions.
Who are the members of MRF's medical advisory board?
In addition to the chair, Dr. Joel Saper (Michigan Headache & Neurological Institute, Ann Arbor, MI), MRF's medical advisory board includes: Sheena Aurora, MD, Swedish Pain and Headache Center, Seattle, WA; Rami Burstein, PhD, Harvard University, Boston, MA; Andrew Charles, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; F. Michael Cutrer, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Fred Freitag, DO, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, TX; Peter J. Goadsby, MD, PhD, University of California at San Francisco; Andrew Hershey, MD, PhD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Richard B. Lipton, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY; Todd Schwedt, MD, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; Gretchen Tietjen, MD, University of Toledo; Linda Watkins, PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder; David W. Dodick, MD, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ (Emeritus); and Stephen D. Silberstein, MD, Jefferson University Headache Center, Philadelphia, PA (Emeritus)
What research has MRF funded?
Anna Andreou, PhD (2010 - Heftler New Investigator Award) University of California, San Francisco Corticothalamic feedback and trigeminothalamic sensory processing during cortical spreading depression-relevance to migraine with aura.
Brandon Aylward, PhD and Scott Powers, PhD (2010) Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
Emily Bates, PhD (2011 – Heftler New Investigator Award) Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Nancy Berman, PhD (2008) University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
David Borsook, MD, PhD (2008) McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA
Yu-Qing Cao, PhD (2009) Washington University Pain Center, St. Louis, MO
Andrew Charles, MD (2008) David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
F. Michael Cutrer, M.D. (2008) Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Alexandre DaSilva, DDS, DMedSc (2010) University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MI
Teresa Esposito, PhD (2009) Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, Naples, Italy
Golda Ginsburg, PhD (2009) Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Richard Kraig, MD, PhD (2010) The University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL
Richard Lipton, MD (2007) Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Michael Oshinsky, PhD (2007) Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Frank Porreca, PhD (2007) University of Arizona, Tucson
Marcela Romero Reyes, DDS, PhD (2009 – Heftler New Investigator Award) NYU School of Dentistry, NY, NY
Ann Scher, PhD (2007) Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD
Markus Schürks, MD, MSc and Tobias Kurth, MD, ScD (2009) Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA
Todd Smitherman, PhD (2010) University of Mississippi Medical Center, Oxford, MS
Patric Stanton, PhD (2010) New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY
Julie Wieseler, PhD and Linda Watkins, PhD (2009) University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO
Colin Willis, PhD (2010) University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Biddeford, ME