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As elsewhere in the world, migraine and other headache disorders have always produced very significant disability amongst Canadians. Over the last 50 years, progress has been made by health professionals to improve the care received by patients with headache, and to reduce the headache-related burden carried by patients and their families. Milestones in this progress have included programs for better education for the public, for neurologists, and for other physicians about migraine. Highlights in the Canadian battle against migraine and other headaches include those listed below:
1972: Dr. John Edmeads has an established headache consulting practice in Toronto. Dr. Edmeads later serves as president of the American Association for the Study of Headache, and will become one of Canada's foremost headache specialists.
1984: Dr. Jacques Meloche, a pioneer in migraine management in Canada, establishes the Montreal Migraine Clinic.
1986: Founding of the Canadian Headache Society with Dr. Robert Nelson as the first president.
1992: Imitrex (sumatriptan) tablets and the injectable formulation become available in Canada.
1995: The Canadian Headache Society hosts the International Headache Society Scientific Meeting in Toronto under the leadership of Dr. Mark Gawel.
1997: Canadian Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Migraine in Clinical Practice are published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal under the leadership of Dr. William Pryse-Phillips (Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland) (Sponsorship: Glaxo-Wellcome).
1998: The Women's Health Migraine and Epilepsy Conference is held in Toronto, and the proceeds published as a supplement in Neurology. The conference and supplement focused on women's health issues in the management of these 2 common neurological disorders (Sponsorship: Glaxo Wellcome).
1998: The first Annual National Neurology Resident's Headache Course was held in Montreal at the Montreal Neurological Institute, with Dr. Allan Purdy as the chief organizer (Sponsorship: Glaxo-Wellcome).
1999: The Scientific Basis of Migraine Management Symposium for neurologists was held in Lake Louise, Alberta (Chair: Dr. W.J. Becker). This conference brought a number of internationally recognized headache experts to Canada, and also brought together Canadian clinical and basic science researchers in headache. The proceedings were published in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences (1999) (Sponsorship: Merck Frosst Canada).
1999: The Canadian Headache Society/Glaxo-Wellcome headache fellowship was established. The first recipient was Dr. Catherine Jarvis of Queen's University for a basic science project on spreading depression.
1999: The Canadian Headache Society organized the Evidence-Based Migraine Therapy Symposium (Chair: W. J. Becker), held in Montreal. This workshop promoted the use of evidence based medicine in migraine therapy in Canada. The proceedings were published in Cephalalgia (2000) (Sponsorship: Glaxo Wellcome).
2000: The Canadian Headache Outpatient Registry and Database research project was launched under the auspices of the Canadian Headache Society by the CHORD co-investigator group (principle investigator, W.J. Becker; co-investigators, R. Giammarco, S. Christie, G. Mackie, and M. Gawel.) (Sponsorship: Glaxo Smith Kline).
2000: Following the death of Dr. Meloche, the Jacques Meloche Canadian Headache Society Annual Resident Prize was established for the best essay on headache submitted by a neurology resident (Sponsorship: Merck Frosst).
2000: Dr. John Edmeads and Dr. Robert Nelson were made honorary member of the Canadian Headache Society in recognition of their contributions to headache.
2001: The Canadian Headache Society organizes a symposium on “Physician Communication with the Migraine Patient,” which was held in Toronto (Chair: W.J. Becker). The focus of the symposium was to improve communication between physicians and patients with migraine (Sponsorship: Glaxo Smith Kline).
2002: Letters of Patent issued for the incorporation of the Canadian Headache Society in the Province of Alberta, January 24, 2002, with Dr. Allan Purdy as President, Dr. Michel Aube as Vice President, and Dr. Marek Gawel as Secretary-Treasurer.
2005: The Canadian Headache Society – Headache Network Canada website goes on line. The focus of the website is to provide patients with headache with reliable information on diagnosis and treatment.
2006: The Canadian Migraine Forum is held in Toronto (Chair: Dr. W.J. Becker). This forum brought together 24 health professionals and 6 patients with migraine from across Canada. The forum reviewed the impact of migraine on Canadians, current migraine treatment in Canada, and made recommendations on how migraine care in Canada could be improved. The proceedings were published in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences (2007) (Sponsorship: Merck Frosst).
2007: The Canadian Headache Society National Headache Fellowship continues under the sponsorship of Merck Frosst Canada Ltd.