Headache and Migraine in the National Academy of Sciences

I thought about writing a new manuscript for the high profile journal PNAS, the Proceedings of the United States National Academy of Sciences. Searching first for PNAS member editors is probably not a bad idea.

I was struck. None? Did I misspell migraine? No. Let’s try headache, maybe „headache“ works. Again no one. That rang a bell. Didn’t I just read about a comparison that first seemed a bit odd to me.

The WHO estimates that migraine causes more lost years of healthy life in the US annually than multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ovarian cancer, and tuberculosis combined…,
…whereas in 2010 the combined NIH research funding on these four disorders ($684M) was more than 45 times greater than that for migraine ($15M).

So I tried searching for PNAS member editors of these other terrible conditions and found: 3 members for „multiple sclerosis“, 6 for „epilepsy“, 2 for „ovarian cancer“, and 3 for „tuberculosis“. 0 for „migraine“. 0 for „headache“.

This search of PNAS member editors will find the search terms either in their Election Citation or in their own Research Interest statements. In conclusion, not one member has a large interest in headache or migraine, or was elected for that reason. That is sad.

Markus Dahlem forscht seit über 20 Jahren über Migräne, hat Gastpositionen an der HU Berlin und am Massachusetts General Hospital. Außerdem ist er Geschäftsführer und Mitgründer des Berliner eHealth-Startup Newsenselab, das die Migräne- und Kopfschmerz-App M-sense entwickelt.

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  1. Dairy foods are correlated with a large number of migraines. The world could save itself a lot of headaches by curtailing its consumption of these products, which are implicated in many other chronic health conditions, and of dubious nutritional value for those who have access to plant-based sources of the nutrients it provides.

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