Dr. Todd Schwedt explains how ARMR works and how it can provide hope for people living with migraine
The American Migraine Foundation recently launched the American Registry for Migraine Research, or ARMR. ARMR collects information and biospecimens from patients living with migraine and other disorders that cause head pain. ARMR will be used to help health care providers and scientists better understand the causes, characteristics, and management of migraine and other headache types. Anonymized ARMR data will be made available to researchers who apply for access, enhancing the efficiency by which headache research can be conducted.
Dr. Todd Schwedt, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and co-principal investigator of ARMR, expands on the registry.
What is the American Registry for Migraine Research?
“ARMR is a longitudinal study. We’re collecting data over time, which will allow us to study changes in headache patterns, health care resource utilization, diagnostic and management strategies, development of co-morbidities and responses to therapies,” Dr. Schwedt says.
The registry is comprised of multiple components: The first component is an online platform in which participants fill out a baseline and follow-up questionnaires and clinicians enter the participants’ headache diagnoses. There is also an ARMR headache diary mobile app in which participants share daily information about their migraine attacks, their level of function and their treatment, if any. The third component is a blood sample, which is processed and stored in the ARMR biobank and will be used for genetic analyses. Brain imaging data are collected in the ARMR Neuroimaging Repository, and electronic health record data are pulled and confidentially entered into a centralized ARMR database.
“Oftentimes, research is done in silos,” Dr. Schwedt says. “So a group at one institution is doing their own work, collecting their own data, doing their own analysis. And a group at another institution is doing their own work. That isn’t the most efficient way to move forward in the field. We believe creating and sharing data from this large and comprehensive study is really going to improve the efficiency of research in the field.”
A Glimpse of Hope
Dr. Schwedt believes ARMR offers hope for patients living with migraine. “ARMR data could lead to breakthroughs in the field,” he says. One hope for ARMR is that it will contribute to the ability for health care providers to use precision medicine to treat their patients.
Clinical trials show which migraine therapies are overall effective for groups of people with migraine; however, health care providers are still working to understand which specific therapy is ideal for a particular patient. “One of the challenges we have in this field right now is being able to determine which exact therapy is going to be best for which patient,” Dr. Schwedt says. “For example, we might know that about 50% of patients will benefit from a specific migraine preventive therapy, but we don’t know in advance which 50% that is. I believe the data we’re collecting in ARMR is going to help us get to the stage where we can practice precision medicine, knowing which therapy is most likely to help an individual patient prior to the patient starting that therapy.”
How it Works
Currently, to participate in ARMR, you must be a patient at one of the study’s enrolling medical centers. You can see a full list of the participating centers here. “The number of centers participating in the ARMR is growing rapidly,” Dr. Schwedt says. “There will be eight or nine centers by the end of this year, and ARMR will continue to grow in 2019.”
Patients at any of the participating centers who are interested in ARMR can visit ARMR.org to learn more and can contact their clinician’s office to find out how to enroll. Once enrolled, participants answer online questionnaires, provide a blood sample, and maintain a daily headache diary.
Visit the ARMR website for more information and to learn about how you can get involved in the study.