09 September 2008

New international studies in SA

South Africa has been selected to host two groundbreaking international studies into the causes of migraine headaches.

South Africa has been selected to host two groundbreaking international studies into the causes of migraine headaches.

The first study will focus on mapping the "migraine code". The "migraine code" is a phrase used to describe the sequence of anatomical and physiological disruptions that result in, and cause, the excruciating pain of migraine. This sequence will be mapped by gathering a web of data from thousands of migraine sufferers from Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town and abroad.

The study will make use of the latest CT angiogram imaging and scanning technology. This provides a three-dimensional visual analysis of the anatomy of the head, face and neck areas allowing the sequence of pathologies, or the "migraine code" to be mapped.

Second study
In the second study, tissue samples from South African migraine sufferers will be couriered to a laboratory in Italy in the hope of breaking fresh ground in the development of a new breed of pharmaceuticals. Researchers are remaining tight-lipped on the details and research protocols of this effort to pioneer more effective migraine medications.

According to the Chairman of the South African Headache Society (SAHS), Dr Elliot Shevel, The Headache Clinic in South Africa is the largest migraine treatment facility in the world measured by patient flow. This factor gave South Africa the edge as the destination of choice for Italian migraine specialist and Professor of Neuropsychiatry Carlo Ciancetti and his associates, who have teamed up with Shevel.

Both these research projects are being funded jointly by the governments of Italy and South Africa.

"According to the government's grant, the time frame for the initial phase of the research is three years. But with the assistance of my colleagues at The European Headache Society, the American Headache Society, and at Harvard Medical School, we expect to reach completion and publication of the first stage within a year.” stated Dr Shevel on his return from Italy in June. - The Headache Centre

September 2008


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