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American Headache Society's 48th Annual Scientific Session, June 22-25, 2006

American Headache Society's 48th Annual Scientific Session

The American Headache Society's 48th annual scientific sessions, held June 22-25 in Los Angeles, Calif., attracted more than 700 physician-attendees.

Paul Winner, D.O., president of the American Headache Society and clinical professor of neurology at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said a genetic predisposition to migraine was the focus of some of the research presented at the meeting, with studies indicating that certain patients may be prone to migraine that surfaces only under certain conditions, such as fatigue. As a result, preventive therapy is on the horizon. "We are beginning to get a handle on it, on who needs it, who should receive," said Winner, who is director of the Palm Beach Headache Center.

In some cases, the treatment is likely to be straightforward. Removal of triggers, improved sleep quality, routine exercise and pharmacological therapy, with the latter being done early and effectively, may help prevent the potential development of lifelong, periodic disability, he added.

Research reported at the conference also refined understanding of migraine beyond identification of new triggers, noted Randy Stevens, M.D., a family physician from West Terra Haute, Ind. Psychological intervention received some well-deserved attention at this meeting, he said. "It can be tremendously beneficial," he said.

In the past, psychological intervention has been seen as a means of helping headache patients deal with stressors, however, there is now greater appreciation that it can help them learn relaxation techniques and ways in which they can help manage their episodes, he pointed out. "It is a very complex issue that requires a complex treatment approach," he said.

Results from investigations presented at the meeting suggest various pathophysiologies may lead to headache. Botulinum toxin treatment, for instance, was shown to be relatively more effective in patients who reported having imploding ocular headache, compared with those patients who described their head pain as exploding.

Presentations at the meeting also broadened the understanding of the ways in which individuals may become prone to headache. One study showed that obesity, which has been linked to susceptibility to headache in adults, is now showing up as a factor in children and adolescents. Overweight children have more frequent and more severe headaches than their age-matched peers with weight in a normal range, according to Andrew Hershey, M.D., Ph.D., director of The Headache Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Findings from other studies suggested that headache can be cyclical over the life span, and that early, frequent headaches are either predisposing to later migraine or are an initial sign that recurrent migraine in adulthood is a likely outcome.

New methods of treating migraine also were unveiled, from a hand-held device that delivered magnetic stimulation pulses transcranially to a relatively new application of the anti-seizure drug topiramate, which was found to eradicate or diminish migraine symptoms in a large multi-center trial.

AHS: Magnetic Hand-Held Device May Stop Migraine

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- A portable device that employs magnetic stimulation to deliver transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may be a safe and effective way to reduce or prevent headache when used during the visual aura phase of migraine, according to preliminary research presented at the American Headache Society's annual scientific meeting in Los Angeles.


AHS: Topiramate May Prevent Migraine Symptoms

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- The anti-seizure drug topiramate can prevent migraine in patients for whom headaches have become a near-daily occurrence, according to a study presented at the American Headache Society's annual scientific meeting in Los Angeles.


AHS: Obese Children More Likely to Have Headaches

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Children and teens who are obese are more likely to have frequent, severe headaches than children with weights in the normal range, according to a study presented at the American Headache Society's annual scientific meeting in Los Angeles.


AHS: Migraine Prevalence High in U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Migraine headaches affect U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq at twice the rate of their civilian counterparts on American soil, according to a study presented at the American Headache Society's annual scientific meeting in Los Angeles.


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