New tool may help GPs better manage patients with migraines

Neelima Choahan

29/08/2018 2:57:07 PM

The University of Melbourne has launched a new course highlighting the latest advances in migraine diagnosis and treatment for GPs.

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Professor Tissa Wijeratne says it is rewarding to treat patients with migraines as it can be fixed, unlike other neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

A new course specialising in migraine aims to help GPs learn the latest advancements in headache diagnosis and treatment, its developer says.

The University of Melbourne’s Mastering migraine management, which is available on any smart device, took a team of neurologists one year to build.
‘The migraine sufferers’ estimated numbers [in Australia], according to the global burden of disease data, is just over five million. That’s almost one-third of the Australian population,’ course director Professor Tissa Wijeratne, Chair of Academic Medicine and Director of Neurology at Western Health, told newsGP.
‘Migraines are reasonably complex neurological disorders affecting the chemical activity of the brain, causing havoc on the human brain, and yet the number of specialists we have [in Australia] is limited.’
Professor Wijeratne said it is Australia’s GPs who are most often the first port of call for patients experiencing migraines.
‘GPs play a pivotal role in helping many of these patients to regain quality of life. I thought the best thing would be to create something to give [GPs],’ he said.
‘The beauty of migraine, with regards to other neurological disorders, [is that] it’s a very rewarding thing to treat as a doctor.
‘I can’t fix my Parkinson’s patients or my stroke-affected patients when they damage their brains.
‘Whereas migraine patients … the only thing that is wrong with their brain is that their normal brain, due to their genetic makeup, produces abnormal electric and chemical activity, causing migraine-related symptoms, causing disability.
‘Once you fix that … you enjoy seeing a happy patient.’
The course is structured into small blocks, covering the latest strategies for the diagnosis of headaches. It also highlights ‘red flag’ symptoms and differential diagnoses, and provides pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for managing patients experiencing headaches, including preventive strategies to manage migraines.
‘It has eight hours’ worth of lectures, multiple videos … and GPs, nurses, specialists and other doctors can basically do the course on their mobile phones while they are sipping their coffee,’ Professor Wijeratne said.
‘They could spend a small amount at a time, do a case, answer questions, read the interactive material. They can do it when … they are able to spend 10–15 minutes.’​

migraine management neurology University of Melbourne


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