Migraine disease affects over 36 million Americans, making it more common than Asthma and Diabetes combined. It affects 10% of children and even more adolescents, the most common age when the majority of patients begin showing migraine disease. This disrupts much of their educational and sociological development, precluding a normal productive life. Over 25% of all severely debilitating strokes under the age of 45 are due to migraine disease. The World Health Organization lists migraine as among the world’s top 20 most debilitating disorders.
In the United States it is a major cause of disability (9% of all disability) and productivity loss, indirectly costing the American public nearly $15 billion. This is in addition to the direct treatment costs which are estimated at $16 billion, the majority of which is delivered to the worst of sufferers. These medications are intended to be lifelong, are often multiple, and never without side effects. Despite the fact that over 30% of sufferers are dissatisfied with the success of their treatment, most medical therapies are directed towards managing the pain once the headache starts rather than reducing or eliminating them all together.
Migraine Surgery is an under-recognized viable treatment option for moderate to severely affected patients who tend to be the least satisfied with their treatment and who consume most of the medical dollars spent on migraine each year. Despite extensive evidence-based scientific data (including placebo-controlled surgical trials) and significant attention in the media, few sufferers and even fewer practitioners are aware of this option.
Pharmaceutical companies currently underwrite all of the major educational foundations that serve the public as well as the publications that disseminate information to headache specialists. Aside from our annual Migraine Surgery Symposium where each year 30-50 new surgeons are trained, there is no foundation in which to disseminate information about this proven technology that has been shown to eliminate headaches in 30-40% of patients, reduce disease severity by at least 50% in 85-90% of patients, and reduce annual cost of care by nearly $4,ooo per patient per year.
Migraine Surgery, in the worst of patients, will usually end the expensive and detrimental “desperation polypharmacy” so prevalent among these debilitated patients, restore their livelihood and end or greatly reduce their silent suffering. The Migraine Surgery Foundation serves to disseminate information about this treatment option which has been eclipsed by the marketing and educational efforts of the current traditional medical paradigm which is so ineffective for many of the more severely affected patients.
Activities of the Foundation
The specific activities of the foundation would share the common goal of educating the public, health care providers, insurance companies, state and national legislatures on the individual and societal benefits of this service-based technology in the treatment of headache. This will be done through a comprehensive approach using electronic and print media.
A web-based domain will be established to provide a forum for migraine surgical patients to ask questions and communicate about their experiences. A registry of qualified migraine surgeons will be established to assist patients in locating a properly trained migraine surgeon in their area. This will also serve to inform about past and on-going research in the field and possibly serve as a registry for crowd-based research whereby surgeons and their patients can cooperatively log their results and communicate any benefits.
The foundation will foster a growing number of migraine surgeons through educational seminars and training programs.
It will promote multi-institutional research to help identify the best candidates for surgery, and how to best treat and identify those that will respond the least.
It will promote a cooperative effort on the parts of Neurologists, primary care physicians, physician extenders, Psychiatry, Psychology Addiction medicine, sleep medicine, physical therapists, and message therapists to better serve the largely dissatisfied moderate to severe migraine patients.
It will help provide funding for charitable care for those meeting both clinical and financial criteria.
In summary it will help promote a service-based treatment with proven patient and societal benefits that otherwise has no central organization or industry investing in public awareness. Its purpose is to change the current treatment paradigm from costly lifelong and often ineffectual “management” to the profoundly more humane and affordable elimination of the problem.