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'Playing for the big time’ to help migraine sufferers

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'Playing for the big time’ to help migraine sufferers

​Leading neurologists, physicians and others with an interest in migraine and headache medicine came together on Tuesday 14 August 2018 for the Inaugural James Lance - Peter Goadsby Migraine Annual Symposium.

The symposium is an important new part of Western Health’s response to the leading cause of disability in Australia - migraine.

In opening the symposium, Western Health’s Director of Neurology, Professor Tissa Wijeratne, said that he and others are “playing for the big time” in the hope that they can reduce the suffering of people with extreme migraines.

He hopes to inspire others to specialise in migraine and headache medicine and is leading a world first collaboration with a team of young and dynamic neurologists and neurology advanced trainees to prepare Mastering Migraine Management.

With migraine the leading cause of disability in Australia, Professor Wijeratne says that it is critically important to get young neurology trainees and physician trainees interested in migraine and headache medicine.

“We have approximately 500 neurologists practicing in Australia, and there are more than five million headache sufferers. This number is growing year on year.

“Headaches are worse than any other condition when it comes to disability, and people often suffer in silence,” he said.


Pictured L–R: Western Health Chief Executive, Russell Harrison; Director and Chair Mayo Clinic, Professor David Dodick; Professor Peter Goadsby, London, UK; Western Health Director of Neurology, Professor Tissa Wijeratne.

​“The best possible headache and migraine care for patients also relies on research, so we encourage people who suffer from migraine or chronic headache to join the Headache Australia Register and to make a donation to help support ongoing research.’

Professor Wijeratne launched a book, Move Against Migraine, at the symposium and is developing an online e-learning course to better educate doctors to diagnose and treat migraine, as well as educate patients.

Symposium attendees also saw the launch of an Australian first documentary, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Hidden Cost of Migraine. The documentary follows the lives of six people who suffer from migraine and will feature in a major community awareness and public advocacy campaign to be rolled out this year.

Professor Wijeratne is also the Chair of the Global Policy and Advocacy Committee for the World Federation of Neurology (WFNR) and Chair of the Special Interest Group for Migraine, WFNR. His interest in the brain began as a young person in Sri Lanka, when his grandfather had a stroke.

Western Health and the University of Melbourne partnered with Headache Australia and the Brain Foundation in delivering this symposium. It was opened in conjunction with La Trobe University and Australian and New Zealand Headache Society.

For more information about the symposium, including Professor Wijeratne’s interview with Professor Peter Goadsby, see