Shazia's Story

The importance of funding migraine research

Dr Shazia Afridi has changed thousands of lives for the better. She is a leading consultant neurologist based in London and her research has played a key role in furthering the understanding of migraine. Her research was funded by The Migraine Trust.

Shazia became interested in migraine in the early 2000s. She was astonished that a health condition can be so prevalent but still so poorly understood. Migraine research is an underfunded area so there are still big gaps in knowledge around it.

Funding for her PhD

The Migraine Trust funded Shazia’s ground-breaking research about the areas of the brain which are involved in a migraine attack. This research had a significant influence on how we understand migraine today. Its focus on the brain stem helped to uncover some of the key mechanisms behind a migraine attack.

This understanding is important, not just in terms of treating migraine but in helping to explain that migraine is a complex brain disease. Shazia says: “People with migraine can seem fine on many days but be completely debilitated on others. Because of this, sometimes migraine can get less sympathy than other neurological conditions.”

Since completing her research, Shazia has set up the Headache Service in the neurology department at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. Her clinic offers novel treatments to people with migraine that can be life-changing. Shazia is also working to improve the patient experience: “I am working on developing new pathways through the healthcare system, so that the patient journey from GP onwards is much easier and less stressful and so that hopefully the patient can get the right treatment for them more quickly.”

Projects like this can make an amazing difference to patients’ lives.

The importance of new funding for migraine research

Shazia says that The Migraine Trust is a vital source of funding for new migraine research, not least because migraine is such an underfunded area of research: “Funding from The Migraine Trust is incredibly important. It has significantly contributed to our understanding of migraine. It is unique in that it is a patient-focussed organisation which champions research.”

Looking to the future, Shazia says we need to fund more migraine research. “We have come a long way but there is still so much more we need to understand about migraine. We have some treatments that work for some people but we need to develop better treatments that are tailored to the individual, so that hopefully someday soon everyone with migraine will have a treatment that works for them, and they can still live a full and happy life.”

Will you support migraine research?

We need your support in order to continue to fund the work of incredible people like Shazia. By making a regular donation of just £5 per month today, you can fund vital research that will help us better understand migraine, improve treatment, and ultimately help find a cure. Please consider donating now.

Thanks for everything you do for The Migraine Trust. People like you will transform what it’s like to live with migraine in the UK.