What to know about the new research on migraines

Dr. Jennifer Ashton brings the latest on what you need to know about the new research on the neurological disorder that affects millions.
5:22 | 06/26/17

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Transcript for What to know about the new research on migraines
have a "Gma" health alert and go over here O -- how are y'all doing? I'll talk to Jen Ashton about that. Something very important to Shaffer with you that affects many. Talking about promising new research. Aren't we? That's right. Debilitating condition that affects so many but there is new hope and before we talk to Jen about that, here is a look at someone's story. Migraines have completely controlled my life. I hate to say it but it's true. Everything I do is planned around migraines. Reporter: 23-year-old Kate is not like most college students. And enjoying freedom and fun of campus life because on most days she is in pain. I don't really go out that much. It's hard to be around a lot of people. So I am very reclusive. It's had an effect on your relationships and friendships. Yes, it's too difficult to like go to a party. That's like just not fun for me. So I spend a lot of time by myself. Kate's struggle with migraines is one her mother Jill knows all too well. Because migraine runs in her family. But for Kate, there has been no medication or treatment that has helped ease the pain. Her childhood was marked by frequent visits to neurologists, migraine specialists and hospitals. Desperate to find relief. My 17-year-old, 18-year-old, 20-year-old, for days and days in the dark with her head on the pillow saying I'm dying. There's nothing I can do. That's hard. How do you deal with people who don't understand if you have -- it's an illness and any other illness, if you are going through cancer like I did and lost my hair, people could understand that. But there seems to be as your mother was saying earlier, oh, come on, just. Tough it out. Tough it out. So how do you handle it and make people understand, no. Honestly I don't really tell people. Because I can tell when somebody thinks I'm lying and I don't want to subject myself to that. Migraine right now is synonymous in the public with a headache. Well, it's so much more than a headache. It's an inherited neurological disease with functional and structural consequences on the organ most affected which is the brain. Reporter: For now Kate is focusing on something else she says she has inherited from her family. Resilience. What is your message for somebody seeing this who is walking in similar shoes as you? Don't let other people's impression of your illness define you. That I've really struggled with that and to just keep going. Just keep going. Kate is a remarkable young woman. That's just a sneak peek of my series from my production company in partnership with web MVP D called "In their own words: Moving beyond migraine" and the root cause of the pain and symptoms and there's some really breakthrough research here. But going back to Kate, you know, spending time with her and her mother and is there a genetic component? There is and it's not the whole familipicture. If you have one parent who's been afflicted that increases your risk. If you have two it increases your writing even more and people with migraines that they're the first one in their family but like anything in medicine your family history is important. Breaks now? There is and in the migraine world a lot of the buzz is about something called cgrp, targeted therapy discovered as one of the key factors in causing migraines so a lot of our treatments are based on just band-aid, treating the symptoms. This molecule goes up in the blood and triggers and activates all nerve pathways. T trygeminal nerve that start the cascade of migraine symptoms so, again, the treatments now in development could be out as early as 2018. Block the molecule or reseptember tore they attach to that is causing a lot of optimism. Hopefully relief there. Yes. It is thought a headache. Don't even say migraine headache. Right. So separate. I think the analogy is a migraine is a headache like a blizzard is a few snowflakes. A migraine is a neurologic disorder and just to range a few of symptoms so you can distinguish it's really not subtle. Typically people with migraines get light sensitivity, they are nauseated, some of them are vomiting. There can be something called an aura, flashing lights that you see in your visual field and migraines can last for hours to days. You know, a headache comes, goes and it's not interfering with the quality of your life. Any other treatment options. Take a look at this list. I put it up there. There is a plethora of things on this and I want to draw your attention to the last two on the next page, complimentary therapies abound. Things like Botox, a device that goes around the head and caffeine and it treats the acute symptoms. The buzz is to prevent it from beginning. Thank you so much. We really appreciate that and you can see the entire series tomorrow on webmd. Now to that parenting alert

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