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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Goodbye to the Godfather of Migraine Treatment

Can I nominate someone for sainthood? If I could, I'd nominate Dr. W. G. Speed, III. This wonderful man, and fellow migraneur, was just as shocked as we get, by the abusive and dismissive treatment he received when he sought medical attention for migraine pain and he decided to do something about it. That was back in the 1930's. Goes to show how slowly things actually change in the medical community.

In the sixties, Dr. Speed began touting ergotamines as a treatment for migraine pain and also proved the effectiveness of inhaling the ergotamine, rather than taking it in pill form, as a faster and better way of utilizing the medication. Throughout his career, he was an enthusiastic supporter of finding new and better medications to treat migraine disease.

As a matter of fact, if it weren't for Dr. Speed, migraine would still be classified as a psychological, psychosomatic disorder, rather than a disease with specific physiological epidemiology. According to his friend and colleague, Dr. Long, who also studies headache and chronic pain, Dr. Speed was all for "whatever therapy helped to treat patients, and he moved quickly to embrace the new drugs."

Toward the end of his career, he was studying how head and cervical trauma effected migraines and headaches. Dr. Speed died at the age of 87. Dr. Speed, you did your best to change your field for the better. Thank you. He died in November, but I wanted to memorialize him, here, because I thought it was fitting and because it encourages me to know that there are people out there who care about this disease and are working to find better and better treatments.

I hope they find a cure for it in my lifetime. If you'd like to contribute to research, please, click the title of this blog to find out how you can help be part of the cure.

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