Doctors lobby for better headache treatments

August 24, 2008 12:56:09 PM PDT
About 90-percent of Americans get headaches. Many say it's caused them to miss a social event or a day of work but less than one-percent of research money from the National Institutes of Health goes towards finding new treatments. So now some doctors in Philadelphia are trying to change that.

Haley Berot gets a headache everyday and one or two migraines per week. Nothing stops the pain. "I've tried probably 15 headache medicines and stuff for my migraines," she said, adding any drugs that have any effect often make her slow and forgetful. Once a straight-A student, the 16-year-old now struggles for a passing grade.

"It's very frustrating to see your child in pain and know there's nothing that you can do to make it better," her mother Maryann Berot said.

Neurologist Dr. William Young of Thomas Jafferson University Hospital said there's not enough research money to help find better treatments. Compared to other ailments, funding for headaches or migraines falls short. "Asthma, which has about the same amount of impact in society that migraines and other headaches disorders have, gets 25 times more funding than migraines," he said.

That's why Dr. Young joined the "Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy." The group lobbies Congress for more research money. The last new headache medicine was developed almost 20 years ago. Haley hopes she doesn't have to wait that long for better relief.

For more information about the advocacy group, visit: OR