• By Dana Sparks

Science Saturday: A new era in migraine care

March 16, 2019

For the millions of people who have migraine, the search for pain relief can feel like a nightmare game.

“Spin the wheel, see what drug you land on, and just try it. That’s the trial-and-error approach that we have had to use in migraine,” says David Dodick, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus.

The World Health Organization ranks migraine as the third most prevalent medical condition in the world. In the U.S., migraine affects 38 million people at an annual estimated cost of more than $20 billion. The impact of migraines is amplified by the fact that people generally start experiencing attacks at a young age.

“Migraine affects people during the prime of their lives — while they’re trying to get an education, build a career and raise a family. And those effects extend throughout people’s lives,” Dr. Dodick says.

But new understanding of the biology underlying migraine, and the development of therapies developed specifically to treat and prevent the disorder, are changing migraine care.

“It’s a brand-new era. We’re about to see a plethora of mechanism-based, disease-specific therapies become available over the next few years,” Dr. Dodick says. “With this range of options in our therapeutic arsenal, I’ve never been more optimistic for patients.”

Mayo Clinic is at the leading edge of these efforts, participating in the design and data analysis of clinical trials for the news classes of migraine medication, such as research in NeurologyJAMA NeurologyJAMA and Cephalalgia in 2018. In the laboratory, Mayo Clinic is using advanced brain imaging to develop biomarkers for classifying migraine, a notoriously subjective disorder. Mayo Clinic neurologists also led the trial that resulted in approval of a noninvasive neurostimulation device to prevent migraine attacks. Read the rest of the article on Discovery's Edge.
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