Today I’m going to take a break from exposing the bad side of Migraine information on the internet to discuss a truth. More Migraine research is sorely needed. Anyone reading this probably already knows that. Another truth is that a major factor holding back Migraine research is funding for that research.
The Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy (AHDA) has been working to get the amount of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) increased. They have some sobering statistics about Migraine and research funding:
- Headache disorders cause more than 1 percent of all disability and 9 percent of all lost labor in the US every year.
- Migraine alone is the 12th most disabling disorder in the US.
- Headache disorders are the most prevalent neurological disorders, affecting more than 90% of all Americans.
- The US annual direct and indirect economic costs of headache disorders exceed $31 billion.
- The NIH expended less than $10 million in 2006 towards all research on headache disorders, comprising less than 0.05 percent of its total budget. (Yes, that’s less than ½ of 1%.)
In their latest update, the AHDA reports progress in the form of appropriations bill report language and a planning meeting with the NIH. I congratulate them on that progress, but the increased research dollars aren’t a reality yet.
Yesterday, I can across an article by Teri Robert about the Migraine Research Foundation (MRF). A bit about the MRF:
The Migraine Research Foundation is committed to furthering the understanding of the causes and mechanisms of migraine, helping to develop improvements in treatment, and finding the cure. We believe that migraine research is very important and under-funded. As a result, MRF is actively seeking to provide seed money grants for projects that are important, achievable, and innovative that will ultimately lead to better treatment and quality of life for migraine sufferers.
The MRF is now accepting research proposals for their next round of grants. There’s more information about that in Migraine Research Foundation Announces New Request for Proposals.
The AHDA has worked tirelessly to increase the amount of research funding Migraine gets from the NIH. Their news of appropriations bill report language and the planning meeting with the NIH is indeed good news and very welcome. I don’t want to be negative, but given the state of the U.S. economy, I have to wonder how long it will be before that progress turns into real dollars available for Migraine research. I’m not an expert on this, but I suspect the length of time we wait for those dollars will be tied to the length of time it takes our economy to recover.
In the meantime, I’m glad to see other organizations stepping in to raise research funds. Along with the Migraine Research Foundation, there’s a new foundation started by the American Headache Society, the American Migraine Foundation. Instead of waiting for the government to fund more research, maybe we need to put more emphasis on the MRF and AMF. Maybe, when we have a few dollars to spare, we need to donate to these foundations. It’s something to think about.