CBS Reporter Serene Branson Teams Up With The National Headache Foundation to Launch "More Than Just a Headache" Campaign

-Education Effort Aims to Raise Awareness and Provide Migraine Patients with Resources-

Jun 07, 2011, 08:00 ET from National Headache Foundation

CHICAGO, June 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Headache Foundation (NHF) announced today that it is partnering with CBS Los Angeles reporter Serene Branson to launch "More Than Just a Headache," a new education campaign to raise awareness of the prevalence and impact of migraines. The campaign helps to kick off June as National Migraine Awareness Month (NMAM) and educate the public on the personal and societal costs of migraines, while also providing resources for the 30 million migraine patients and their families.

Migraine is a recurrent headache disorder with intense pain that may be one-sided and accompanied by nausea or vomiting as well as sensitivity to light and sound.  Some people who have migraine headaches experience an aura, temporary disturbance of the senses or muscles in the minutes before the onset of pain.  While migraine is usually not life-threatening, the symptoms are painful.(1) In fact, a recent study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed that migraines were the most common type of headache associated with inpatient stays, comprising 63.1 percent of all hospital stays with headache as a first-listed diagnosis.(2)

Serene Branson's migraine attack while reporting on a popular music award show in February brought to light the serious - and sometimes scary - symptoms of migraine.  After video of Branson went viral and intense speculation arose about the causes of her episode, tests conducted by her doctor confirmed that she had suffered a complex migraine, which symptoms often mimic a stroke.

"I was surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of letters and emails of support I received from those who suffer from migraines," said Branson. "It's made me aware of the significant toll of migraines on those affected, and the need for more information and resources for these patients."

In addition to pain and other symptoms, those who suffer from migraine miss significant time at work and with friends and family. Nine out of 10 people with migraine report they can't "function normally" during days in which a migraine strikes, and nearly three in 10 require bed rest. Every day approximately 430,000 people are unable to work due to migraines, equaling about 157 million workdays lost annually. Industry loses $31 billion per year due to absenteeism, lost productivity and associated medical expenses due to the neurological disorder.

"Migraine is a highly underfunded disease and more research is needed to help people with migraine or headache disorders find relief," said Robert Dalton, executive director, NHF. "The NHF has been leading the fight against migraine for more than 40 years and we want patients to know about our resources that can help them in their journey to managing their disease."

Learn More and Get Involved

With dozens of public education campaigns, a comprehensive support group network, online learning modules and toolkits, and a toll-free hotline, the NHF has assisted millions seek education and treatment for their condition. The NHF has also played a central role promoting the education and research of migraine with physicians, allied healthcare professionals and healthcare policy decision makers.  Patients and their families are encouraged to go to  for detailed information about NHF's available resources.

To help its ongoing efforts to support those who suffer from migraines, the NHF is looking to raise $100,000 during the campaign.  Those who donate $20 or more to the organization will receive a free NHF membership that allows full access to all its information and resources, including a subscription to the NHF's quarterly magazine, Head Wise. More importantly, those who donate will be helping to further educational programs and resources for those who suffer from migraine. In fact, over the last four decades, NHF's support for migraine patients and their families have included:

  • Awarding more than $1.7 million in research grants; pilot studies funded by NHF resulted in more than $7 million in National Institutes of Health research grants.
  • Creating a widespread series of regional educational conferences across the U.S.
  • Hosting free educational programs for military veterans and their families to help them better understand and manage migraine and chronic headache issues due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Share Your Migraine Moment

The NHF is also asking migraine patients to share their Migraine Moment - how it feels during an attack, after the experience, and before the next one strikes. The NHF wants to hear about the challenging experiences living with migraine - and about your progress toward regaining control of your life. Select stories will be featured in upcoming issues of the NHF's quarterly magazine Head Wise.  Additionally, the region with the most submissions will be selected for a NHF Regional Conference in 2012, an education program for patients and physicians featuring nationally recognized experts in migraine and headache treatment.

More information and resources can be found at, on NHF's Facebook page or via the NHF's Twitter profile (@NHF).  

About the National Headache Foundation

The NHF is a nonprofit organization that has pioneered the way headaches have been diagnosed and treated over the last 40 years. No other organization provides such comprehensive educational resources and tools to people with migraine and headache disorders, their families, physicians who treat these diseases, allied healthcare professionals and to the public. The leaders of the organization are world-renowned experts in the field who have pulled together many easy-to-use tools and resources to help people better understand headaches and options for headache care. This information is available on the NHF website at or by calling 1-888-NHF-5552 (M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT).

(1) The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2009 ( Accessed May 9, 2011.

(2) Headaches in U.S. Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2008 ( Accessed May 9, 2011.

SOURCE National Headache Foundation