The following article is part of conference coverage from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from the AAN 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting.


Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and headache education have a similar clinically meaningful effect on migraine frequency, but MBSR is also associated with improved disability, quality of life, self-efficacy, pain catastrophizing, and depression among patients with migraine, according to study results presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, held April 17-22, 2021.

The objective of the current study was to compare the impact of MBSR and headache education on migraine outcomes and cognitive function.


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The study enrolled 89 adults (92% women; mean age, 43.9 years) with 4 to 20 monthly migraines, who were randomly assigned to 8 weekly in-person classes of MBSR or headache education.

The primary outcome was the change in migraine frequency from baseline to 12 weeks. In addition, study researchers assessed changes in disability, quality of life, self-efficacy, pain catastrophizing, depression scores, and experimentally induced pain intensity and unpleasantness at 12, 24, and 36 weeks.

At 12 weeks, MBSR and headache education were associated with fewer migraine days and the difference between the groups was not statistically significant (-1.6 migraine days/month vs -2.0 migraine days/month; P = .51).

However, MBSR was associated with improvement from baseline at all time points in disability (5.92; 95% CI, 2.8-9.0; P <.001), quality of life (5.1; 95% CI, 1.2-8.9; P =0.01), self-efficacy (8.2; 95% CI, 0.3-16.1; P = .04), pain catatrophizing (5.8; 95% CI, 2.9-8.8; P <.001); depression (1.6; 95% CI, 0.4-2.7; P =.008), and decreased experimentally induced pain intensity and unpleasantness (P =.004 and P =.005, respectively).

“MBSR may help treat total migraine burden; a larger more definitive study is needed to further investigate these results,” concluded the researchers.

Reference

Wells RE, O’Connell N, Pierce C, et al. Mindfulness meditation vs. headache education for migraine: a randomized clinical trial. Presented at: the American Academy of Neurology 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. Abstract S15.003