If you’ve ever tried to make it through a day of work or school with a headache, you know how much pain can disrupt your everyday routines. Now imagine having headache pain several times a month — or more. That’s a common occurrence for the 39 million Americans suffering from migraine, a neurological disease that can not only cause headache pain but also sensitivity to light and sound, extreme nausea, vomiting and disturbed vision.

“Migraines are more than just headaches,” said Dr. Joseph J. Mann, the Neurology and Headache Medicine Investigator at Rochester Clinical Research. Migraines involve both electrical and chemical processes in the brain, he said, causing excruciating pain, disability and burden upon sufferers.

According to the World Health Organization, migraine is the sixth leading cause of LYD (years living with disability) worldwide, and a 2015 study found that migraine and headaches are leading causes of both outpatient and emergency room visits in the US. And yet, there are only four preventative migraine treatments approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Mann and his colleagues are working to increase that number.

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