The 2023 MSC Emerging Science Contest for Early-Career Investigators took place on December 13, 2023. Below is a written summary of one of the presentations from the contest. Read about other presentations from the event in our Early-Career Science Library.
Runner up: Mary Kovoor, doctoral candidate in public health, New York Medical College, US
Title: Mindfulness-based interventions and self-efficacy among persons with chronic migraine.
Hypothesis, methodology, findings and conclusions.
Non-pharmacological approaches to migraine prevention are needed, as they may provide benefit in migraine patients for whom preventative medications are unacceptable due to cost or other factors. The mechanism behind mindfulness meditation is related to the activity of brain areas connected to neuromodulation and control of pain; further, the concept of increased acceptance of one’s pain condition can alter brain mechanisms that impact the experience of pain. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation display a significant positive influence on pain intensity and empower patients to take an active role in their own self-care by fostering a sense of decreased perceived stress, increased focus, and a sense of centeredness. The incorporation of mindfulness meditation into a chronic migraine patient’s general treatment plan not only helps the individual patient, but has a positive public health implication by reducing the total burden of migraine.
Implications for understanding migraine disease and/or its comorbidities, or how the research holds promise as a new avenue of future migraine study.
While studies have shown that mindfulness-based interventions reduce suffering and increase self-efficacy in patients with migraine, more research is needed to understand their public health implications. Specifically, research is needed to determine to what extent mindfulness practices address psychosocial contributing factors to migraine and can incorporate some aspects of social determinants of health. My research will address this knowledge gap and can potentially be used to guide efforts to increase accessibility to treatment among those with the highest level of risk and need.