News and Commentary Archive

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The Center for Law, Brain & Behavior puts the most accurate and actionable neuroscience in the hands of judges, lawyers, policymakers and journalists—people who shape the standards and practices of our legal system and affect its impact on people’s lives. We work to make the legal system more effective and more just for all those affected by the law.

Taking the Headache out of Migraine

By David Borsook and David W. Dodick | Neurology | August 2015


Migraine is a disease that contributes to major disability. Perhaps because migraine attacks are not immediately life-threatening per se and individuals return to a “normal” state between attacks, it is not taken seriously. However, migraine is associated with a number of comorbidities, including psychiatric disease, stroke, and other chronic pain disorders. Current acute treatments for episodic migraine are relatively effective, but preventive treatments for episodic and chronic migraine are far less so. Recent functional imaging studies have shown that the disease affects brain function and structure (either as a result of its genetic predisposition or as a result of repeated attacks). The current evidence in the pain field is that changes observed in brain function and structure may be reversible, adding credence to the notion that treating the disease aggressively and early may be beneficial to patients. Here we suggest a change in our approach to a disease that is currently not treated with the urgency that it deserves given its global prevalence, disease burden, and effects on brain function.

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