Imagine the day when Migraine gets the same kind of respect as Multiple Sclerosis , Diabetes or Autism.  It’s NOT just a headache.  Yet migraine has a serious brand issue. Perception doesn’t meet reality.  A new migraine awareness campaign could attach that. Too many people still think migraines are bad headache for relief that stressed out women gain at that time of the month. Those of us who suffer from migraines can show that it’s a multi-symptom, genetic neurological disease that touch men, women and children.

New Migraine Awareness Campaign Planned in 2017

This is not the first try to build migraine awareness.  Every year, the US, UK and Australia sponsor a migraine awareness month, leveraging social campaigns fueled by patient advocates to obtain the word out.  In 2013, the American Migraine substructure launched The 36 Million Migraine campaign with Cindy McCain that attracted interest initially with an appearance on the Today display.  Yet it never gained the kind of traction that migraine supporter, sufferers and doctors had hoped.Why?  As with any campaign, success need that the channel, the message and the messenger all work jointly in a relevant, compelling way.  Campaign budgets and timing are also analytic success factors. Underfunded marketing campaigns normally can’t crack through the clutter.At this year’s American Headache Society meeting, Dr. David Dodick presented the beginning plans for a major new 2017 Migraine Awareness Campaign that the AMF is betting will break through in a huge way.   It’s focus:  “to education and inform, and then raise empathy and action.”One of the top migraine researchers in the globe, Dodick is usual credited with attracting top doctors to make migraine their specialty.  That’s necessary to better our access to the top headache care.  And sooner or later, finding a heal.

A Massive Onslaught of New Migraine Therapies in 2017-18

Dr. Dodick: Actually, there are more than four companies, developing both monoclonal antibodies that target CGRP or its receptor, as well as other small molecular drugs that target CGRP or other receptors that are widely considered to be important in turning of the pain and other symptoms associated with migraine. These results will become available at the same time that the American new Migraine Foundation is launching their national public migraine awareness campaign.   It’s the first time that has ever happened.

So there will be so much noise [about migraine] that it will be difficult not to attention.  You’ll have to be under a rock to not be familiar of the fact that new migraine is much more serious than previously thought.  We will rebrand new migraine as a important neurological disease and not a psychosomatic illness. We hope to remove the stigma attached to this disease, and change the public’s perception about what migraine is and isn’t.  We will reassure patients that hope is available now, that they should seek and insist on appropriate care, and that help is on the way.

Paula: It’s not just a headache. It’s not just stress. It’s not just toxicity in the environment. Migraine is from within.

Dr. Dodick: Exactly. It’s from within. It’s a neurological disease that can be influenced by a lot of things in the environment. Not unlike many other chronic medical and neurological diseases.

Invisible Illnesses Like Migraine Rarely Shows Obvious Symptoms

Paula: Migraine is largely an invisible illness, that is, unless someone sees you throw up.  Then’s it’s ugly, nasty visible.

Dr. Dodick: With other neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis, the disability is often readily visible. When you can see it in person, on an MRI or do a blood test and measure it, it’s much different from when it’s just the patients reporting the symptoms.  In absence of an actual physical disability, and with no disease markers, it adds to the stigma those with migraine face.  With migraine, one can’t size the ability of suffering objectively, one can’t see it, feel it, connect it, and so it’s a mystery to a lot of physicians.

Paula: The migraine sufferers who I have met through  are among the most courageous warriors. They get up every day and have a million things to think about, a bunch of micro decisions just to avoid the imminent attack which could come at any point in time.  That takes a lot of internal strength, and it’s not what people associate with migraine sufferers.

Dr. Dodick: It does.

Finding a Cure for Migraine Requires More Funding

Dr. Dodick: So I don’t realize if there will be a cure for migraine in my lifetime, but 2017 will be a watershed year that will drive research in this pasture in a way that it’s never been driven before. If we invest in research as a community, then I think we more get to a cure in our lifetime. We might. But right now, we’re behind. We’re dealing with a disease that’s been funded to the tune of $10-20 million per year, that is less than 1/20th of 1% of the NIH budget over the past three decades! That is grossly disproportionate given the amount of suffering this disease – now considered by the World Health Organization to be the sixth leading cause of disease related disability worldwide. source

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