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Archive for January, 2009

Well, here we go again. An inaccurate article written, I suspect, just to promote “cures” and other nonsense.

The blog is called “Migraine and Headache.” This particular entry is titled “Migraine Headaches – Get Information on a Permanent Alternative Treatment” by Jo Mark. The entry is chock-full of inaccurate and questionable information. Here are some examples:

She says:

Migraines are caused by the enlargement of blood vessels and the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around these blood vessels. As your blood vessels enlarge, the nerves surrounding them stretch. This stretching action causes the nerves to release chemicals. These chemicals cause inflammation, pain, and further enlargement of the artery, which intensifies the pain.

Ah, the old vascular theory. It has now been shown that the enlargement of the blood vessels is NOT the cause of Migraine. It’s part of a chain reaction that occurs during a Migraine attack. Before the blood vessels enlarge, neurons in the brain start firing, and the blood vessels shrink for a very short period before enlarging. The cause is those neurons which, in the brains of Migraineurs, are overly sensitive, AND genes. Migraine is genetic.

She also says:

The first course of treatment for migraines are over-the-counter analgesics and pain relievers (like acetaminophen and ibuprofen among others).

Not many doctors would agree with that these days. Most of them think it’s better to use one of the prescription drugs that actually stop a Migraine instead of just covering the pain for a while.

The last paragraph says:

There is one alternative treatment for the permanent cure that is gaining popularity. For more information, get all the details on this Amazing Migraine Treatment.

Yes! I knew it. The whole, inaccurate article was leading up to a sales pitch. Of course, it’s not a very effective pitch since below the entry it says:

If you suffer from panic attacks, eliminate them with:
Panic Attack Cure.

Oh, and there’s no link to this “Panic Attack Cure,” which is probably good because I can’t imagine it being worth much.

Best,
Arabella♥

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nfh185We all love good news, and we’d all love it if it turned out that there were positive aspects to having Migraine disease.

Back in November, the media was buzzing, reporting that having Migraines decreases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 30%.

Yesterday, the National Headache Foundation blogged “Migraineurs have a lower incidence of breast cancer. Their blog entry began:

A silver lining for women who suffer from migraine has been discovered—researchers have determined that female migraineurs have a significantly lower chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not have migraines.

Overall, women with a history of migraine showed a 30% decrease in the incidence of the most common types of breast cancer.

You may ask what’s wrong with what they wrote. If you’ve been reading my blog very long, you know I’m going to tell you.

What’s wrong is that the study had some serious shortcomings. For one thing, patients in the study weren’t medically screened for Migraines. It all hinged upon the patients telling the researchers that they had Migraines. Many Migraineurs are undiagnosed, and some in that study may not have told the researchers they have Migraines. And, how many of us have had people tell us they have Migraines too just because they have a bad headache? So, some may have said they have Migraines when the indeed do not.

I don’t want to prolong this, so I’m going to give you two quotes from Migraine experts to further demonstrate my point about this study:

From Dr. Stephen Silberstein, director of the Jefferson Headache Center:

This study doesn’t prove anything. It’s not that I don’t believe the results, it’s that the results are not believable.

From Dr. Ellen Drexler of Maimonides Medical center:

Migraine brains are more sensitive to many exogenous and endogenous factors, of which falling estrogen levels are an important one for many female Migraineurs,…. However, female Migraineurs are not known to have consistently lower levels of estrogen than are non-Migraineurs… genetic factors may also be playing a role, as well as exogenous factors such as medication use, smoking and alcohol use, which may vary between Migraineurs and non-Migraineurs…

So why did the NHF’s blog entry state that there’s a silver lining, that women with a history of Migraine showed a 30% decrease in the incidence of Migraine — with no qualifiers on the statements?

I don’t know why, but it’s disappointing. We should be able to expect more from such a large, prominent organization. We should be able to expect them to give us perspective on such studies, not just regurgitate the statistics.

Best,
Arabella♥

sources of information:

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Yeah, right. Here we go again, ladies and gents!

The blog “Click for How To?” has an entry today titled “How to Control Migraine.” This entry has several statments that injure it:

Make sure that you do not eat anything too spicy. You should also do better by avoiding red meat and pork….

Now, those may be good general lifestyle tips, but Migraine trigger foods vary from person to person, so if the implication is that those foods trigger Migraine, that’s one stike.

There are some herbs that also work wonders. You can try ginger and this will control your nausea and headache. Feverfew is another herb that is known to be helpful in curing migraine.

This statment also injures the believability of the blog entry. Ginger does help many people with the nause of a Migraine, but does nothing for the headache of a Migraine attack. Feverfew is helpful for some people in preventing Migraines, BUT if this blogger wants to recommend it, he or she should be responsible enough to mention that it shouldn’t be taken by pregnant women. It can cause miscarriage.

Now, here’s the fatal flaw in that blog entry:

Migraine can be cured. All you need is a disciplined lifestyle. Good food habit, sleep, meditation, and regular doctor check up can make sure that you live a migraine free life.

Give it a rest, fool! If it were that simple, we’d all know about it and be cured already!! What an ass!

Best,
Arabella ♥

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On November 11, fellow Migraine blogger Abi Addison wrote New Migraine Guide at About – a Good Thing? At that time, About.com had finally found someone to take Teri Robert’s place as their “guide” to headaches and Migraine. At that point, it didn’t look as if the new guide had much going for him, but most everyone I saw say anything about it, was taking Abi’s attitude of “Time will tell.”

Back on December 4, I wrote Disappointing Migraine Site: About.com. Even so, I had hope that the new guide, Mark Foley, D.O., just needed to gain his footing, and that the site would at least come close to what leading patient advocate Teri Robert had created there when she started the site for About in 2000.

Sadly, I have to say that the hope I had is dissipating. In his most recent newsletter, Foley featured an article about “persistent daily headaches.” His first paragraph reads:

“New persistent daily headaches (NPDH) can be a scary and difficult condition to develop. It is a form of chronic daily headache (CDH) that begins very abruptly. CDH refers to a number of headache types that occur more than 15 days in any given month. In the case of NPDH, these daily headaches develop over no more than a three-day period. ”

In his article, he quotes the International Headache Society’s (IHS) International Classification of Headache Disorders, which sets the standard for diagnosing and classifying headache disorders. So far, so good.

The problem is that, by the very IHS criteria, this disorder is NOT “new persistent daily headaches (NPDH).” It’s “New Daily Persistent Headache (NDPH). It’s not a typo. He says it wrong consistently throughout his article.

My question is this: If he can’t get the name of the disorder right, should we trust the information in his article?

For myself, I think I’ll pass. After all, it’s not hard to find Teri Robert and her article on the same topic, New Daily Persistent Headache – The Basics.

No, I believe I’ve given Foley and About.com a fair chance, and I find them sorely lacking. It looks as if the Headaches / Migraine site may not be the only site that’s losing ground either. As you surf around, from time to time, you can come across sites with statistics that rank the various health networks. Just a few years ago, About.com’s health section consistently ranked in the top five. In the most recent of these rankings I’ve seen, not only has About.com dropped out of the top five, but health networks that have been around for a far shorter period of time ARE in the top five.

Should Foley or anyone else from About.com come across this, please know that I take no joy in writing this. The internet has become an unparalleled tool for patients who need health information. We can use all the good networks, all the good sites, we can get. No, I take no joy in this. In a way, the decline of this About.com site is something I watch with something akin to grief.

Rest in peace, About.com Headaches / Migraine. You had a great run while it lasted.

Best,
Arabella

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Very Confused Knowing what kind of Migraine or headache you have can be confusing. Plenty of people turn to the internet to try to figure out what they’re dealing with.

Doctors who specialize in treating Migraines or headaches usually stick to a diagnostic and classification listing developed by the International Headache Society. When doctors and people who write about headaches and Migraines stick to that, it’s far less confusing.

Today, I came across an article titled “Dealing With a Cluster Migraine Headache.” The first problem with this article is that there’s no such thing as a “cluster Migraine headache” if you stick to the IHS guidelines.  Beyond that, since the author uses that term as well as “cluster headache,” it’s impossible to tell what he or she is really talking about. The article also says it’s a “very common condition.” If it’s supposed to be about cluster headaches, that’s flat wrong. Cluster headaches are not common. If talking about a type of Migraine, there’s no way to know if that statement is correct since we can’t tell what the article is really about.

One of the more disturbing things about this article is that it appears on a site called “Headaches.” If someone is writing a whole site about “headaches,” I’d expect them to know what they’re talking about. This article proves that this writer does not.

Maybe they write this  nonsense just to have a place for lots of Google ads to click on so they can make money?

Whatever their reason for writing, I’d advise you to either avoid this site or at least never believe what it says unless you get it confirmed by a reliable source.

Best.
Arabella

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