In 2015 headache has been ranked by the Global Burden of Disease Study as one of the most common and disabling neurological diseases worldwide. Many conditions are related to headache and the International Headache Society (HIS) distinguished headache as primary when it is not caused by another condition and secondary when there is a further underlying cause.
Frontiers in Neurology — Headache Medicine and Facial Pain has launched a new Research topic Functional and Structural Brain Alterations in Headache: A Trait or a State?. It is being led by the world’s leading headache experts Dr. Peter Goadsby together with Dr. Massimo Filippi and Dr. Roberta Messina with the aim to outline the current state of functional and structural brain abnormalities in primary and secondary headaches.
Why is research on headaches so important today?
“Over the last decades, our knowledge of the biology of headaches has improved considerably, allowing us to develop new pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments that have the advantage of targeting mechanisms active in headaches. This helps us manage patients better. But there are still many unanswered questions. To better understand headache pathophysiology we need further longitudinal studies, studies comparing patients with different forms of headache and comparing headache patients to patients with other chronic pain disorders. We must also make more effort to identify patients who respond and those who don’t to acute and preventive therapies commonly used to treat headache patients,” says Dr. Messina.
How would this article collection contribute to research in the field of headaches?
“Significant progress has been made in the headache field, new treatments are now available and even if they are not personalized they improve the lives of many patients. I think this Research Topic will make a difference by helping to outline the new mechanism of headache pathophysiology and new personalized treatments. This Research Topic will also outline the numerous neuro-imaging studies that have changed the way we understand primary and secondary headaches. These show how multiple cortical, subcortical and brainstem regions have been involved in the different phases of the headache attack. Indeed, new evidence demonstrating that distinct magnetic resonance imaging brain patterns can predispose to different headache phenotypes and a better understanding of magnetic resonance imaging brain alterations will help to develop new anti-headache treatments,” says Dr. Messina.
What kind of research will be published in this article collection?
This Research Topic welcomes original research exploring functional and structural brain abnormalities in patients with primary and secondary headaches. Opinion articles and reviews highlighting how brain change is involved in creating predisposition to headache, as a consequence of headache attack or a combination of both are also welcome.
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