100 Million for Brain Research . . . Why This is Good for Headache Sufferers

The Obama administration announced that they are taking a big initiative towards brain research. While this sounds like a lot of money, once it gets divided between the interests (all the neurological branches) it will not amount to that much. However, every dollar counts.

Headache is a brain disease. It is not a back disease, liver disease or etc. Much of the money spent in headache research is funded by private companies with a financial interest such as bringing a new headache treatment drug to the market (which can cost a billion dollars in research and development) or proving that Relpax is 3% better than Imitrex.

But government money has no financial interests or strings . . . most of the time. Of course lobbyist can influence how the money is spent.

Headache has been the ugly stepchild of neurological research. It shouldn’t be.  Headache disorders disable more people than MS or dementia.  However, you can see MS (on and MRI and neuro exam) and you can see dementia (on mini-mental-status-exams).  Headache you can’t see . . .  yet. So for centuries it has been assumed that headache is caused by demons, character flaws in the victims (in the Victorian days it was observed that more women had headaches than men so it was considered a sign of frailty).  Then by the twentieth century headache disorders were considered a form of mental illness.  That’s where these terms like “tension headache” came from.

Believe it or not many medical providers still see headache as a mental illness.

But headache disorders are legitimate neurological diseases.  The more we un-peel the mystery of it, the better the treatments and maybe some day a cure.