A recap of the groundbreaking research presented at the American Headache Society’s Scientific Meeting in San Francisco

The American Headache Society’s 60th Annual Scientific Meeting recently took place in San Francisco from June 28-July 1. Over 1,300 health care professionals from around the world convened at the four-day event in San Francisco to unveil groundbreaking research on migraine and other disorders that cause severe headache. This was the biggest turnout the meeting has ever had, which included a variety of lectures, seminars and symposia on topics including anti-CGRP treatments to migraine triggers.

AHS members left optimistic about the future of headache medicine and headache research, as we all work together to find a cure for this invisible disease. Throughout the event, attendees were reminded that the work they do every day is impacting people living with migraine in monumental ways. Take a look at some of the highlights from this year’s meeting.

Highlights from the 60th Annual Scientific Meeting

New Research on Comorbidities in Patients with Migraine

Leading migraine experts revealed new, award-winning research that identified distinct respiratory, psychiatric, cardiovascular and pain-related issues that occur concurrently in people living with migraine, also referred to as comorbidities. The identification of these comorbidities may open the door for experts to make more distinct characterizations of the condition, allowing for more individualized treatment approaches for those living with migraine.

The Effect of Migraine on Women’s Lives

Of the more than 37 million Americans who are living with migraine, 28 million are women who experience migraine differently than men. Migraine attacks often last longer in women. Researchers presented clinical studies that deepen the understanding of the effects of episodic and chronic migraine on five aspects of women’s lives:

#1 Family

Research showed that those experiencing chronic migraine are more likely to experience negative effects on the family, including personal relationships issues, detrimental disruptions in family life, and placed heavier burden on all members of the family.

#2 Children

In a study that examined children ages 11-17 living with a parent who experiences migraine, researchers found that the greatest burden was on well-being, parent-child relationship, a burden of daily help and emotional impact.

#3 Menstrual Cycle

In a recent study, researchers divided women with migraine into three groups based on the relationship of headache to menses: Pure Menstrual Migraine, Menstrual-Related Migraine and Non-Menstrual Related Migraine. The study revealed that women with NMRM were more likely to experience peak pain intensity, peak functional impairment and more overall pain interference compared to women in other groups.

#4 Pregnancy

A study examined medications chosen for pregnant women with acute migraine. In a retrospective study, researchers reviewed medication administration records of pregnant women. The study found that while the majority of pregnant women with acute migraine received medications that are considered to be relatively safe, there was a variation in treatment choice, and several low-risk options to treat acute migraine were underutilized. This finding suggests a need for standardized guidelines in the treatment of acute migraine in pregnancy.

#5 Menopause

A study looked at patterns of migraine in women in their menopausal age (40-60 years old) who also experience migraine headache. Researchers concluded that 60% of women with a history of migraine at the menopausal age developed migraine pattern changes, mostly when their status was peri-menopausal or post-menopausal.  The identification of worsening or new onset migraine during the menopausal transition age may help the diagnosis and treatment of migraine for women during the menopausal age.

Migraine in the Workplace

Research found that individuals with chronic migraine were significantly more likely than those with episodic migraine to describe negative effects on their careers. Individuals with chronic migraine are more likely to call in sick due to head pain and indicated that their career advancement had been strained as a result. Those with chronic migraine reported being more worried about long-term financial security and covering living expenses. In some cases, migraine negatively affected their partners as well.

Research Behind Common Migraine Triggers

Leading experts in migraine management presented five clinical studies that looked at the connection between commonly believed migraine triggers—including caffeine, chocolate, the weekend and weather—and the onset of migraine.

Researchers found little statistical association for caffeine, chocolate or non-working days on the onset of migraine. However, in the retrospective study on weather, they found that specific combinations of weather variables are predictive of days with a high risk of onset of headache for individuals with diagnosed episodic migraine. The most influential variable was barometric pressure.

The American Headache Society is a professional society of health care professionals dedicated to the research and study of headache and face pain. Over 37 million Americans are affected by migraine, and the research revealed at the 60th Annual Scientific Meeting leaves us optimistic about the future treatments for migraine and other disorders that cause severe headache. To stay up to date on the latest news and research, visit our resource library, and use our Find a Doctor tool to find a headache specialist near you.