How many headaches do you need to cure before they call you a hero?
1000? 10,000? It’s a tough question to answer, but it’s a valid one.
Firefighters, ambulance drivers and EMT first responders have more flashy pyrotechnics on their do-gooder resumés — but it’s hard to argue that a career fighting migraine headaches, headaches in general, and epilepsy isn’t about as uncontroversially heroic as a person could hope to be.
Dr. Sid Kapoor is such a person. An Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Kentucky, he specializes in epilepsy and headache medicine, and holds expertise both in research and patient treatment for some of the most debilitating malfunctions of the human brain.
Migraine headaches affect some 36 million Americans, and a similar share of the overall population worldwide.
What defines a Migraine?
Although the most common symptom of a migraine is an intense headache that can’t be fought through with willpower, other common symptoms include nausea and vomiting, light sensitivity, and noise sensitivity. Sometimes delivered all at once, and lasting from hours to as much as two days.
Although headaches often arise in the wake of an epileptic seizure, the two conditions aren’t directly connected. They do, however, share another overlap in that anti-seizure medications are also often effective in treating or even preventing oncoming migraine headaches.
And although there remains no one-size-fits-all solution for any of these galling problems, there is a large and increasing bouquet of potential solutions that medical science has to offer. (As Dr. Kapoor explains, some of these are extremely counterintuitive — including dealing with “head pain” by anesthetizing other body parts.)
In Episode #217, listen to Dr. Kapoor explain his decades of work in an inherently painful — but by no means hopeless — field of medical research that affects (at least in the case of headaches) almost everyone.
Smart Drug Smarts Flashback: Episode #112
Go back and listen to Episode #112: Orthodontics and Neurology, which offers some related insights on the strange confluence of neck, jaw, and head nerves and neurological disorders — including migraines.
Episode introduction: Fighting Migraines with Sid Kapoor.
This Week In Neuroscience: Right Ear Advantage?
5-Star review shoutouts.
SDS news and updates.
Guest introduction: Dr. Sid Kapoor.
Epilepsy, comorbidity, and epilepsy syndrome.
The role of the motor cortex in regards to seizures; observable components and non-observable components of seizures.
Heritability of epilepsy.
Treatment approaches for epilepsy.
Overlap between headaches, migraines, and epilepsy.
Is there a drug that is best for individuals suffering from both migraines and seizures?
Where does headache pain come from?
Occipital nerve block and the use of local anesthetics for the treatment of migraine headaches.
Risk factors associated with these treatments.
What sort of research is Dr. Kapoor interested in seeing done next?
Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick: Evolution of brain shape in modern humans.