Mid-Year Update: What Have You Been Reading on Migraine Science Collaborative in 2024?

By MSC Staff | July 1, 2024 | Posted in

Our Top 5 list reflects interest in new approaches to treating headache.

It’s halfway through 2024 – an opportune time to take stock of the most popular content on Migraine Science Collaborative over the first six months of the year.

In our Top 5 list of the most-accessed articles on the site from January to June of this year, coming in first is an interview with Mohab Ibrahim, a pain researcher and physician at the University of Arizona. Ibrahim has pioneered the use of green light to treat pain – an approach that some headache researchers are also pursuing. Does it work?

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence…. But we got published, we have the data to support our claim, and then other labs from around the world replicated our results,” Ibrahim told MSC.

At number two is another news story, this one covering the largest brain imaging study of chronic pain to date. The research showed a fundamental difference in the patterns of brain activity seen in head pain versus pain at other body sites, as our outside source Nasim Maleki, from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, told us:

“It is real what they have found – there are distinct differences that they see in those who had head pain compared to the other groups. Head pain is its own category; we cannot group it with other chronic pain conditions. Just showing that, in a very solid way, was the main strength of the study,” according to Maleki.

Considering the increasing interest in pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) as another promising target for headache treatment, it’s no surprise that a news story on PACAP as a target for post-traumatic headache takes the number 3 spot. Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Danish Headache Center reported, in a small clinical trial of 21 study participants, that 95% of them developed migraine-like headache after receiving PACAP-38.

Study author Håkan Ashina told MSC: “The key aspect here is to remember that post-traumatic headache is something that affects millions of people worldwide, but we have no evidence-based treatments. We need these kinds of drug discovery efforts and also additional animal studies to better understand the disease mechanisms.”

Coming in fourth is a news story on a study reporting that treating migraine with ubrogepant early – during the prodrome phase – prevented migraine attacks.

The story’s outside source, Amaal Starling from the Mayo Clinic, told MSC: “The results from this trial show us that we could recommend that patients treat before the headache or pain phase has set in – and what a wonderful opportunity for patients to be able to prevent the headache pain of a migraine attack altogether.”

Finally, big data has made a splash in the migraine field. Our fifth most popular article thus far in 2024 covered research from Mayo Clinic’s Chia-Chun Chiang and colleagues, who used a big data approach, based on e-diary smartphone data, for head-to-head comparisons of acute migraine medications.

Here’s what Chiang told MSC: “This kind of real-world, patient-reported data can reassure clinicians to leverage and utilize migraine-specific medications to help patients. I also hope clinicians and researchers recognize the potent insights gained from large-scale, real-world patient-experience data, which can significantly enhance our comprehension of treatment outcomes and guide future research directions.”

Take a look at the full list below.

Top 5 Most Popular Articles on MSC from January to June 2024

1. Going Green (Light) for Migraine and Pain: A Conversation with Mohab Ibrahim (March 19, 2024)
In this MSC interview, Mohab Ibrahim discusses the science of green light, its potential as a therapy for migraine and pain, and lingering questions about the approach.

2. A Lesson from Brain Imaging: Head Pain Is Different from Other Kinds of Chronic Pain (April 23, 2024)
A new neuroimaging study pinpoints differences in gray matter in those with chronic pain, especially multisite pain, compared to healthy individuals. Those who reported head pain showed unique differences compared to other chronic pain types.

3. PACAP: A New Target for Treatment of Post-Traumatic Headache? (January 8, 2024)
A recent randomized clinical trial builds the case for pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide-38 in the pathophysiology of PTH.

4. Treating Migraine Before It Begins with a CGRP Inhibitor (February 8, 2024)
A new trial shows that ubrogepant, a small-molecule calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonist, prevents headache when taken during the prodrome phase. The findings have large clinical implications.

5. Which Acute Migraine Medications Work Best? Taking a Big Data Approach (February 22, 2024)
Researchers use e-diary smartphone data for head-to-head comparisons of 25 acute migraine medications. Reassuringly, the results are consistent with current clinical guidelines.

Image credit: 123RF Stock Photo.

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