Migraine Research Foundation Announces Winners of Grants to Spur Innovation in Migraine Research

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The Migraine Research Foundation (MRF), the largest nonprofit funder of migraine research in the United States, today announced the winners of its second round of grants intended to spur innovation in migraine research. The grants totaled $200,000. The grantees were screened by MRF's medical advisory board, which is composed of leading scientists and clinicians from across the country. This year's grantees will investigate estrogen and migraine, mapping changes in brain circuits during a migraine, the effect of opioids on migraine, and building a DNA library of migraine sufferers.

There is no condition of such magnitude - yet so shrouded in myth, misinformation, and mistreatment - as migraine

The Migraine Research Foundation (MRF), the largest nonprofit funder of migraine research in the United States, today announced the winners of its second round of grants intended to spur innovation in migraine research. The grants totaled $200,000. The grantees were screened by MRF's medical advisory board, which is composed of leading scientists and clinicians from across the country. This year's grantees will investigate estrogen and migraine, mapping changes in brain circuits during a migraine, the effect of opioids on migraine, and building a DNA library of migraine sufferers.

Migraine affects more than 30 million Americans and ranks in the top 20 of the world's most disabling medical illnesses. This public health issue also has serious ramifications for the economy. Every year, employers lose more than $13 billion as a result of lost work days due to migraine. Yet despite the wide-spread prevalence and impact of migraine, research into its causes and treatment is sorely lacking, with the National Institutes of Health spending only $13 million (less than 0.05% of its annual research budget) on migraine research per year. The Migraine Research Foundation was founded to address this critical gap by funding research projects that show the promise of making groundbreaking advances in migraine research.

"From the anesthesiologist who can no longer practice to the college student who must drop out of school, many migraine sufferers are forced to miss work, school and personal obligations, and, sometimes even to give up their careers and livelihoods," said Cathy Glaser, co-founder and President of the Migraine Research Foundation. "We founded the Migraine Research Foundation to provide hope and help for the millions of Americans who suffer from this debilitating illness. We hope these grants will spur important progress in migraine research and encourage scientists to enter the field."

"There is no condition of such magnitude - yet so shrouded in myth, misinformation, and mistreatment - as migraine," said Dr. Joel Saper, Chair of the MRF medical advisory board and founder of the Michigan Head-Pain & Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "The Migraine Research Foundation is ahead of the curve in terms of doing what no other organization, individual, or institution in this country is doing, which is trying to get to the source of migraine. This year's grantees were chosen for the promise that their work shows in contributing to a greater understanding of migraine's causes and treatments, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor."

In addition to Dr. Saper, the MRF medical advisory board of distinguished scientists includes Dr. Rami Burstein (Harvard University), Dr. F. Michael Cutrer (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN), Dr. David W. Dodick (Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ), Dr. Peter J. Goadsby (University of California - San Francisco), Dr. Richard Lipton (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY), Dr. Fred Sheftell (New England Headache Center, Stamford, CT and President of the American Headache Society), and Dr. Stephen D. Silberstein (Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA).
The MRF grant recipients and the research projects they will pursue are:

  • Nancy Berman, Ph.D., University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS: A Behavioral Model of Menstrual Migraine
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  • David Borsook, MD, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA: Mapping Functional Brain Circuits in a Rodent Model of Central Sensitization
  • Andrew Charles, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA: Central Mechanisms of Opioids in the Transformation of Migraine
  • Michael Cutrer, MD, The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN: Investigation of the Genetic Basis of Migraine: Building a DNA Library in Migraine Sufferers

"As a doctor who has treated hundreds of migraine sufferers, I can tell you that there is a great deal of frustration about the lack of answers to the problem of migraine," said Dr. Saper. "The founders of MRF saw a problem, felt a problem, and lived a problem - but they did not stop with just recognizing the problem. With the guidance of some of the best and brightest scientists in the country, they are taking proactive steps to address the problem."

"Millions of families like mine live with the debilitating pain of migraine on a daily basis," said Stephen Semlitz, co-founder of MRF and Chairman of the Board. "Our hope is that eventually, due in part to the efforts we have already begun, everyone who suffers from migraine will have an effective treatment that they can count on to allow them to live a healthy, happy, and productive life."

About the Migraine Research Foundation
The Migraine Research Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ending the debilitating pain of migraine by funding research into its causes and better treatment options. More information about MRF and how to contribute to its efforts can be found at http://www.migraineresearchfoundation.org.

Contact:
Samuel Yates, Chief Operating Officer
Migraine Research Foundation
212-249-5402
http://www.migraineresearchfoundation.org

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