How Ongoing Stereotypes About Women Led to Severe Underfunding of Research for Chronic Migraine Disease

In a really fascinating video essay for Quartz, narrator and producer Molly Rubin digs deep into the chronic illness of migraine disease. Rubin looks into what the disease is, what it is not (not a headache), how it has been treated in the past and how it can be treated going forward, despite limited NIH funding.

Quartz News talked to doctors, researchers and patients to find out why there’s still so much unknown about migraine — a disease more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy, and asthma combined — and how far have we come in treating it.

Rubin also notes that because the disease affects more women than men by a 3:1 margin, heavily embedded social stigma about migraine has historically been put upon this invisible disease. This is turn, leads to severe underfunding in research for a cure.

If a disease is not respected in the medical field, then it’s also not going to receive the amount of research funding that it should. …A common theme, unfortunately, in a lot of disease processes that affect women disproportionately is that we don’t have a lot of research. …Until the late 20th century, migraine was thought to be a psychosomatic disease of hysterical women. Migraine affects people across all ages, races, socioeconomic classes.