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If there’s no cure, why have hope?

Over and over again, we have challenged claims of a “cure” for migraine. We explain carefully that without adequate funding, researchers have been unable to study migraine enough to determine its root cause, much less discover a cure. Even with limited funding, devoted scientists have come a long way in the past 50 years. We know a lot about migraine.

  • Migraine is a genetic, neurological disorder characterized by periodic attacks involving symptoms such as head pain, nausea & vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, odors.
  • Migraine is more common in women, but men and children do get migraine, too.
  • Migraine is a spectrum disorder. Some patients experience mild, infrequent symptoms managed by OTC medications. Many others are totally disabled by daily attacks with severe symptoms.
  • Migraine attacks have triggers (sleep disruption, skipping meals, dehydration, strong odors, bright lights, loud noises, certain foods, etc.). Identification and avoidance of these triggers is an important part of migraine prevention.
  • Vasodilation (once thought to be the cause of migraine) does not occur with all migraine attacks. If it does occur, it is a symptom of migraine and not the cause.
  • A wave of electrical activity, called cortical spreading depression occurs at the start of a migraine attack.
  • Migraine patients can experience symptoms of nausea, allodynia, and sensitivity to light, sound, and odors even between attacks of headache.
  • A number of neurotransmitters are involved in the migraine process, including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and gaba

With more research funding, scientists will learn more and more about treating and preventing migraine. As they search for the root cause, ultimately a cure will be found. Despite the fact that migraine affects 1 in 4 families, it is still stigmatized and poorly understood by the general public and medical professionals alike. The situation is improving, but we still have a long way to go.

Despite this situation, the tireless, heroic efforts of compassionate researchers have yielded success. For about 20 years, scientists have been studying the possible link between migraine and a substance called calcitonin gene-related peptide. Here is what we know:

  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is released early in the migraine process. When this substance is blocked, migraine attacks can be aborted and even prevented.
  • Triptans work, in part, because they block CGRP.
  • Botox has been shown to block CGRP, too.
  • Based on the discovery of this CGRP-migraine link, four pharmaceutical companies are currently developing the first migraine-specific preventives in recorded history. If successful, they will be available to patients within the next 5 years.

I’ve met some of the top headache doctors in the U.S. who are leading the efforts to find better treatments, the cause migraine, and hopefully a cure. These men and women are busting their tails to improve our lives. Our current suffering is at the forefront of their mind. It drives them to keep searching.

There isn’t a cure…YET. I may not live to see the day, but I know it is coming.

This is why I have hope.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Cernuda-Morollón, Eva, PhD, Larrosa, Davinia, MD, Martínez-Camblor, Pablo, PhD, Pascual, Julio, MD, PhD, Ramón, César, MD, and Serrano-Pertierra, Esther, PhD (6 MAY 2014). CGRP and VIP Levels as Predictors of Efficacy of Onabotulinumtoxin Type A in Chronic Migraine, Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 54(6), 987–995, June 2014, DOI: 10.1111/head.12372
  2. Durham, P. L. (2006). Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) and Migraine. Headache, 46(Suppl 1), S3–S8.


  • Sandy Steubing
    4 years ago

    After taking the max dose of sumitriptan for 25 years and trying multiple holistic treatments I’m now housebound with migraines and waiting of the CGRP tx to be approved by the FDA. Even a year out seems like an awful long time let alone 5.

  • Tracy Grant
    4 years ago

    I think we have come a long way in the last few years even. In my country they no longer give pain relief in hospitals, but hydration and something for nausea. It works better than pain relief. Drugs are never going to get to the problem. Pain is the bodies way of telling us there is something wrong, and that it’s not happy. The clue is the brain neurons. They need a balance of potassium and sodium and calcium to work properly. When this gets out of balance, they send out the pain we call migraine. Since I think I am not allowed to comment more, I won’t. But I think it’s a shame that people can’t have access to information that might help them, and let them make the choice. It costs nothing. No one is making any money from it. I had lived with chronic migraine for 30 years and I was so desperate to have my life back. Most people on here are as desperate. If you want to ask me, I am more than happy to give you that opportunity as someone gave to me.

  • Luna
    4 years ago

    Are you referring to this? The Stanton Migraine Protocol®

  • mrst53
    4 years ago

    Why would you think you would could not say more? I am interested about the treatment you receive where you live.
    Where do you live? I use accumpuncture and accupressure and I am interested in alternative treatments.

  • lwsbchbm
    4 years ago

    I’m interested in the new class of drugs using monoclonal antibodies that target calcitonin gene-related peptide. I understand some are close to hitting stage 3 trials. I know a lot of drugs get kicked out in stage 3, but it’s encouraging that some migraine specific preventatives seem to be getting closer to production.

  • Tammy Rome author
    4 years ago

    They are getting closer. The last I heard, these medicines may be available within the next 5 years. You can also sign up to be notified of clinical trials in your area that may include trials for these medicines.

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