Headache and other pain and neurological disorders are being explored by clinicians, scientists, and the pharmaceutical industry with renewed vigor. This is to the great advantage of those of us who experience headache/pain or care for or about headache/pain sufferers.

There is now a better understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the brain and the complex mechanisms of headache and other painful disorders. The role of neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, serotonin, etc.), inflammation, blood vessels, muscles, among others, are all being examined.

A number of available medications, presently being used for other illnesses, are being studied for possible application to the treatment of headache and pain. These include anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatory agents, antidepressants, and medications from other pharmaceutical groups used alone or in combination.

The pharmaceutical industry is concentrating research efforts on the development of new compounds designed specifically for the treatment of headache and other pain disorders. Each is aimed at the neurochemical source of the pain process to arrest an attack at its onset or to prevent attacks altogether. In addition, innovative delivery systems (nasal sprays, inhalers, skin patches, autoinjectors, etc.) are being perfected to more efficiently and effectively deliver headache and pain medications.

Large-scale surveys are being performed to detail the impact of headache and pain on individuals, their families, employers, and society at large. Studies on prevalence, effect on quality of life, loss of work time, and health care costs have shed new light on the enormity of the issue of pain.

Consistent with its mission, MHNI is actively involved in a wide range of clinical research projects. These include studies on investigational medications and devices, program outcome data, and better ways to assess and evaluate patients in pain. Participants in research projects come from MHNI's own patient population, referrals from local physicians, and outreach into local communities and nearby states.

If you would like more information about headache and pain research, please contact the Research Division of MHNI at (734) 677-6000, option 4, or contact us directly through this web site.

Marjorie E. Winters, R.N.
Former Director of Pharmaceutical Research
Michigan Headache & Neurological Institute