Migraine and Headache Research Impacted by Headache on the Hill

Having just arrived home from representing Migraine and headache patients at this year’s Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy (AHDA) Headache on the Hill (HOH) event, it’s appropriate to share with you some of the positive results we’re seeing from our six years of lobbying Congress. It sometimes seems that we’re not making progress, but we are.

NIH Research Funding:

The first vital advocacy issue the AHDA undertook was the lack of adequate research funding from the NIH (National Institutes of Health). We all want more effective treatments, and we sometimes blame the pharmaceutical companies for not doing better. But, the reality is that the pharmaceutical companies don’t have the resources or personnel to do the basic research into the epidemiology and pathophysiology of Migraine that must be done. Until Migraine disease is better understood, we’re nearly at a standstill for developing new and better treatments. That’s where NIH research comes in, and Migraine and other Headache Disorders are horribly underfunded. The seldom admitted truth is that there is NO correlation between disease burden and research funding, so some diseases and conditions that impact fewer people and / or for which the overall burden is less than Migraine and Headache get more research funding.

CapitolTreeGood news on research funding: In part due to the lobbying efforts at Headache on the Hill in previous years, Andrew Hershey, MD, PhD, and Scott Powers, PhD, who co-direct the Headache Center at Cincinnati Children’s are leading a five-year study to be conducted at up to 40 sites across the United States. The study is funded by a $12 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

CDMRP Research Funding:

At HOH last year, one of our asks (things we asked for assistance with) was related to the Congressionally Directed Military Research Program (CDMRP). This program began in the early 1990s from a unique partnership among the public, Congress, and the Department of Defense to develop funding opportunities for specific diseases such as breast cancer. Over time the CDMRP has funded medical research in many diseases, conditions, and injuries. Each year, there is a $50 million research grant pool, and researchers may submit proposals for any of the areas listed. In government fiscal years 2010 and 2011, one of the listed areas was chronic Migraine and post-traumatic headache. For some reason, this area was not listed for 2012 research applications.

Good news on chronic Migraine and post-traumatic headache CDMRP funding: One of our asks last year was getting the chronic Migraine and post-traumatic headache restored to the list of areas for applications in fiscal year 2013. Partly due to AHDA efforts, we’re pleased to report that it is listed for fiscal year 2013.

Four of us from Migraine.com were at HOH this year. Tim, Ellen, and Diana joined me. Tim and Ellen had attended before, but this was Diana’s first time.

For more coverage of this year’s Headache on the Hill event, see:

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

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