Podcast: ABC stations mislead patients with “migraine treatment” news

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The world needs more smart patient advocates.

Teri RobertOur latest podcast is about one of them – Teri Robert – who has had migraines for more than 50 years, starting when she was 6. She publishes a migraine patient blog, “Putting Our Heads Together,” to provide information, support and advocacy. And she is a migraine “health guide” for the website HealthCentral.com.

So it’s not surprising that she would hear about questionable news coverage announcing a new migraine treatment. That’s what was reported by KGO-TV San Francisco and by at least one other ABC station in Philadelphia.

She tells the story in this podcast.

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Things you hear about in the podcast:

  • Here are the questions I e-mailed to the KGO-TV (ABC owned-and-operated station in San Francisco) reporter and managing editor:
    • Did you know that this approach had never been studied in migraines, according to Stanford’s Dr. Rob Cowan?
    • Whose idea was it to report the story? Where did the story idea come from?
    • Who ever said it was a treatment specifically for migraines?
    • Did the patient you interviewed have migraines?
    • Did the physician you interviewed know that you were reporting this as a migraine treatment?

I notified the two KGO staffers that I was on deadline, just as they undoubtedly tell people whom they are reporting on. Two weeks have gone by and I have not yet received a response. I would guess they don’t have a good answer to any of my questions.

Thanks to The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation for providing us with a grant to produce these podcasts.

Credit: podcast editor Cristeta Boarini

Music credit: “Migraine Blues” was written and performed by migraine specialist Fred Sheftell, MD, who died in 2011.

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Comments (1)

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James Bogash, DC

April 7, 2016 at 1:41 am

Articles like the ABC one make it seem like the answer to migraines would be as “simple” as a single treatment. As you probably realize, having an impact on migraine severity and frequency requires serious dedication to lifestyle changes, exercise and identification / avoidance of triggers.