Special Interest Section Profile: Pediatric-Adolescent Headache

The American Headache Society is home to a diverse array of Special Interest Sections that connect members with shared expertise and interest to collaborate on research efforts, develop practice models and provide multidisciplinary participation in support of the Society’s mission.

The goals of the Special Interest Section focused on Pediatric-Adolescent Headache are closely aligned with AHS’s mission to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas about the causes and treatments of headache disorders. There are many unknowns in the diagnosis and treatment of headache in children, and the Pediatric-Adolescent Headache section is dedicated to furthering research that will allow doctors to provide improved care.

We spoke with Section Chair Marielle Kabbouche, MD, FAHS about the group’s current and ongoing work, and their vision for the future.

Name of Special Interest Section
Pediatric-Adolescent Headache

Name of Section Chair
Marielle Kabbouche

What is the mission of your Special Interest Section?
To increase awareness of pediatric headache and to encourage communication and studies between all pediatric headache specialists.

What are some recent projects your Section has been a part of?
One thing that we’ve been working on a lot is figuring out new treatment for the pediatric population, especially for the intractable headaches. When patients with intractable headaches come into to see pediatric neurologist, they’ve already tried everything. These are about 3% of the population and we have nothing yet to define them. We want to figure out what are the risk factors for this type of headache, and we’re currently working on finding more treatment options for these patients.

All of our members recently participated in the multi-center CHAMP study. Because all of our Section members know each other, they all were interested in participating, so it grew fast. In that sense, indirectly, the Pediatric Section helped to get more than just one center to do a study so its results would represent a more global scale.

We’ve also been promoting discussion about treatment in the ER and pediatric specialists in collaboration with the Refractory, Inpatient and Emergency Care Section. These discussions before were more focused on treating adults, so now we’re integrating the pediatric population too, because we do admit them into the hospital. For the last 2 years, we’ve been collaborating for treatment and emergency room and inpatient admission to the hospital. Prior to that, these two Sections were not even discussing the pediatric part; in the past year these two groups have been working together more.

What are the future goals of this Special Interest Section?
We are trying to figure out the risk factor of patients who come in for the first time with chronic intractable headache. If a patient comes in ,and we screen and find that they have a lot of these risk factors, then we can figure out who will have bad headaches and treat more aggressively initially, rather than waiting until their headaches get bad. We also are working to learn more about post-concussive headache in the pediatric population. We need to know more so we can figure which ones are more likely to end up with chronic headache and which ones will have headaches that last two weeks and then are fine.

How is this Special Interest Section making an impact in the field of Headache Medicine?
I was surprised by how many neurologists attended the Scottsdale Headache Symposium. There were more than 100 people in the pediatric section meeting. It’s grown almost 3x from the year before. Our awareness efforts have been effective. It looks like there’s a lot more interest now than before.

Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of the American Headache Society, and we’re grateful to the Pediatric-Adolescent Headache Section for actively working to advance those goals. By partnering with other sections to advance our collective understanding of pediatric headache care, the members of this Special Interest Section are ensuring that the American Headache Society and its members will remain at the forefront of emerging headache treatment technologies.

If you are an AHS member who would like to get involved in the Pediatric-Adolescent Headache Special Interest Section, get in touch. If you represent an AHS Special Interest Section and would like to be featured in a future profile, please complete this form.

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