An interesting site and blog I came across are at www.headache-adviser.com. The woman who writes and runs the site is a physician assistant practicing in neurology. She says she has “been specializing in headache medicine for over seven years” and lists other qualifications that make her an “expert.”
After that introduction, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about her and the site and why part of the title of this entry is “When ‘Experts’ Can Confuse.”
The answer is actually pretty darned simple. In “headache medicine,” most specialists follow the gold standard for diagnosing and classifying headache disorders – the International Headache Society’s International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition (ICHD-II).
There are health care professionals who give diagnoses that aren’t part of the ICHD-II, which might not be so confusing but for one detail. They don’t use these diagnoses consistently. One of the most frequently used of these so-called diagnoses is “ocular Migraine.” It’s not part of ICHD-II, and you can find it online used to describe all kinds of different symptoms from a Migraine with a mild visual disturbance to a Migraine that causes full blindness in one eye to any Migraine that has the visual aura, but no pain.
And this is what’s confusing about Migraine-Adviser. I’m not even going to go into the types of headaches she talks about that aren’t in the ICHD-II, but here are some supposed types of Migraines she writes about:
- Vestibular Migraines (She also says, “the name for this is just another name for vertiginous Migraine.”
- Cluster Migraine Variant
- Complex Migraines (She lists weakness on one side of the body as a symptom of “complex Migraine.” A check with a couple of Migraine specialists and researchers verified for me that the only form of Migraine with actual motor weakness as a symptom is hemiplegic Migraine.”
- Ocular Migraine
Oh, and here’s an interesting side note. This “expert” attended the International Headache Society meeting lass month. OK. Well, maybe she’s unfamiliar with the IHS diagnostic criteria and classification system.
In any case, the point is that it’s disappointing to see sites that could do so much good possibly adding to all the rest of the online confusion instead.