Migraine research donation

$8 Million Donation for Migraine Research!

Yep, you read that right. Eight. Million. Dollars. If this news makes you cry, you’re not alone! (Full disclosure: I didn’t just tear up, I was full-on crying. For quite a while.)

The details: Philanthropists Wendy and Leonard Goldberg have donated $10 million to UCLA Health Services, $8 million of which will go to migraine research through the UCLA Goldberg Migraine Program. Although the research will be based at UCLA, everyone with migraine will benefit, no matter where they live. It is the largest donation individuals have ever given to support migraine research.1

Seeing friends and family struggling with migraine prompted the donation, according to Mrs. Goldberg. “Leonard and I have seen firsthand in friends and family members how debilitating migraines can be. We are eager to help find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure,” she said.

Although UCLA hasn’t announced specific research projects, the work will be multidisciplinary. Researchers will investigate the biological and genetic underpinnings of migraine, as well as treatment options.

“Migraine is generally under-recognized as a major medical problem, in part because it is not fatal. But it is not hyperbole to say that it can ruin lives,” said Andrew Charles, M.D., a neurologist and headache specialist who will be leading the program. Dr. Charles has published interesting work in recent years about neurobiological and neurochemical aspects of migraine, including cortical spreading depression.

In addition to fueling research and finding treatments, I believe this gift will also help decrease the stigma of migraine, establishing it as a biological disease, not a measly headache. Even UCLA’s press release is a good start. It doesn’t talk about “migraine headaches” and it even points out how dismissive the phrase “just a headache” is. The press release also includes great stats about migraine, including that more than 90% of people are unable to work during an attack.

The positive signs about the future of migraine research continue to add up. Between the launch of the American Registry for Migraine Research and this gift to UCLA, my holiday season is already joyous. Tears and all.

I wrote about how life-changing this donation could be in a thank you note to the Goldbergs, which I published on The Daily Headache. And if you’d like to say thanks, leave a comment. I’ll pass them along.

Correction: This article originally reported that the Goldbergs donated $10 million to migraine research. It has been corrected to show that they donated $10 million to UCLA Health Services, $8 million of which will go to migraine research.

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