2014: The Year in Migraine

2014 was filled with exciting developments for migraine treatment and research. Highlights include:

Cefaly became available: FDA approved this external nerve stimulator for migraine prevention in March and the first shipments went to patients in April. The reviews have been mixed, but a portion of patients have found tremendous relief. More information and discussion on the Cefaly device can be found here.

SpringTMS received FDA approval: Cefaly was exciting because it was available immediately upon announcement, but SpringTMS is even bigger news. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has been studied extensively and the results are promising. The device is expected to be available to patients in 2015, though the exact date is unknown. Read more: SpringTMS Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Device for Migraine Receives FDA Approval

CGRP-targeting drugs show promise in phase II drug trials: In more than 50 years, no medications have been developed specifically for migraine prevention. Several drugs that target CGRP, a protein believed to play a major role in migraine attacks, had great clinical trial results announced this spring. Further studies are in progress for both episodic and chronic migraine. Read more: Promising New Migraine Drugs in Development.

Neck pain and migraine: More research that establishes a connection between neck pain and migraine was published this year. Neck pain is high for people with episodic migraine and those with chronic migraine and is connected to degree of migraine disability. Read more: Neck Pain & Migraine

Colic an early form of migraine: A meta-analysis of three studies further supports the idea that colic could be an early form of migraine. The study findings have received much attention since they were presented at the American Headache Society’s scientific conference in June.

Migraine, aura, and “visual snow”: Visual snow, which looks like television static flickering in a person’s entire field of vision, has been thought to be a form of persistent migraine aura. Although they may share similar biology, an award-winning paper found that migraine and “visual snow” are distinct syndromes that should be researched and treated as such.

Focus on migraine triggers: A review cataloging the top 10 migraine triggers caught patients’ attention, but the inquiry goes much deeper than that. While triggers are known to be a factor in migraine, studies on triggers have widely varying results depending on how studies are designed and who participates in the studies. Researchers and clinicians are exploring ways to better study and establish connections between triggers and ensuing migraine attacks. This will lead to a better understanding of triggers and how to manage them.

36 Million Migraine campaign: American Headache Society president Lawrence Newman, MD, kicked off the November AHS conference by asking attendees to “shine a light on migraine” and to support the 36 Million Migraine campaign. The campaign has also added new patient-centered educational material to its website, launched a blog, and will be doing a monthly spotlight on migraine-related topics.

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