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John R. Graham
Headache Center

at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital

Research by Headache Center Staff


William R. Renthal, MD, PhD: Genetics and Epigenetics of Headache and Pain

Selected Papers and Publications

Beta Blockers for Migraine

Biomarkers in Migraine: Their Promise, Problems, and Practical Applications

Chronic Daily Headache as a Philosophical Issue

Headache and Combination Estrogen-Progestin Oral Contraceptives: Integrating Evidence, Guidelines, and Clinical Practice

The Heroism of Incremental Care (by Dr. Atul Gawande)

Hormonal Management of Migraine Associated With Menses and the Menopause: A Clinical Review

Hypnic Headache Secondary to Haemangioblastoma of the Cerebellum

Our Headache Fellowship: A 10-year history (by Dr. Paul Rizzoli)

Prophylaxis: Headaches That Never Happen

Tolerance and Loss of Beneficial Effect During Migraine Prophylaxis: Clinical Considerations

Tolerance to the Beneficial Effects of Prophylactic Migraine Drugs: A Systematic Review of Causes and Mechanisms

Triptan Therapy in Migraine

When Can Successful Migraine Prophylaxis Be Discontinued?


Common Pitfalls in the Evaluation and Management of Headache: Case-Based Learning

This practical, step-by-step describes real-world cases from everyday clinical practice. Common Pitfalls in the Evaluation and Management of Headache: Case-Based Learning highlights specific areas of diagnostic uncertainty and common pitfalls in the diagnosis and treatment of headache, and is invaluable to anyone dealing with headache on a front-line basis.

Although headache is one of the most common complaints that patients bring to their clinicians, few physicians feel confident about its clinical evaluation and management. Is it a problem in its own right, or the presenting symptom of a serious medical condition? Loder, Rizzoli and Burch bring a practical case-based approach to this complex ailment, highlighting specific areas of diagnostic uncertainty in headache evaluation and treatment. Each case is taken from real-world clinical practice and reviews the diagnostic and treatment process in a systematic manner, identifying common challenges and pitfalls and describing newly issued treatment guidelines. Written in a question and answer format, this concise and useful guide in the Common Pitfalls series provides a step-by-step guide for everyday clinical practice, invaluable to anyone dealing with headache on a front-line basis.

Common Pitfalls in the Evaluation and Management of Headache: Case-Based Learning is available at the Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital Gift Shop and at


The Migraine Solution: A Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Pain Management

The Migraine Solution, a new book written by Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital associated physicians Elizabeth Loder, MD, MPH, and Paul Rizzoli, MD, is geared towards a headache sufferer or a concerned family member, and explores new research related to migraines and their treatment, as well as clarifying many of the myths surrounding headache management.

"The Migraine Solution contains everything we would tell our patients about headache if we had the time with each one,” says Dr. Rizzoli. “This includes practical advice about the problem, the treatments, lifestyle issues and how to get help.” Rizzoli states that many headache books for the general reader tend to have a “hook,” like claiming that a patient can do something themselves to manage headache, like diet. However, headache is often more complicated than that. “At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, we believe  that a partnership approach, which emphasizes that the physician and the patient both have a role to play in migraine management, is often the most effective type of treatment plan in battling migraine,” continues Dr. Rizzoli.

Both Loder and Rizzoli have a long history in studying migraine. Loder became interested in headache early on in her career when, as a resident at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, she did a rotation at the John R. Graham Headache Center. “Dr. Graham was still involved with the Center at that time and was a tremendous inspiration for the study of headache management,” says Dr. Loder.

Rizzoli himself had chronic migraines during his time as a neurology resident at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, and he was quite surprised at how little attention was being paid to headache in neurology. His own struggle with migraines, coupled with a desire to foster his own research on the topic, eventually led to his co-authoring of The Migraine Solution with Loder.

The Migraine Solution: A Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Pain Management is available at the Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital Gift Shop and at


Recent Publications from John R. Graham Headache Center Staff

Stephen Loder, Huma U Sheikh, MD, Elizabeth Loder. The Prevalence, burden and treatment of severe, frequent and migraine headaches in US minority populations: statistics from national survey studies. Headache. (Pending Publication)

Huma U Sheikh, MD and Jelena Pavlovic, MD, PhD. Headaches During Pregnancy and Peripartum. Chapter in Neurological Illness in Pregnancy. Oxford Publishing. (Pending Publication)

Huma U Sheikh.  Approach to Chronic Daily Headache. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. Volume 14. (Pending Publication)

Wells RE, Burch R, Paulsen RH, Wayne PM, Houle TT, Loder E. Meditation for migraines: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Headache. 2014 Oct;54(9):1484-95.

Burch RC, Loder S, Loder E, Smitherman TA. The prevalence and burden of migraine and severe headache in the United States: updated statistics from government health surveillance studies. Headache (pending publication)

Loder E, Burch R. What can data mining teach us about triptan safety that we don't already know? Cephalalgia. 2014 Jan;34(1):3-4.

Smitherman TA, Burch R, Sheikh H, Loder E. The prevalence, impact, and treatment of migraine and severe headaches in the United States: a review of statistics from national surveillance studies. Headache. 2013 Mar;53(3):427-36.

Loder E, Burch R, Rizzoli P. The 2012 AHS/AAN guidelines for prevention of episodic migraine: a summary and comparison with other recent clinical practice guidelines. Headache. 2012 Jun;52(6):930-45.

Rizzoli PB. Emerging therapeutic options for acute migraine: focus on the potential of lasmiditan. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2014 Mar 31;10:547-52.

Strauss L, Loder E, Rizzoli P. Transient Facial Nerve Palsy After Occipital Nerve Block: A Case Report.Headache. 2014 Jun 10.

Rizzoli P. Preventive pharmacotherapy in migraine. Headache. 2014 Feb;54(2):364-9.

Minen MT, Loder E, Friedman B. Factors Associated With Emergency Department Visits for Migraine: An Observational Study. Headache. 2014 Oct 23.

Loder E, Weizenbaum E. Adding NSAIDs to triptans: could less be more? Cephalalgia. 2014 May;34(6):407-8.


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