AHS 2019: What You Need to Know Ahead of the American Headache Society Annual Meeting


Stephen D. Silberstein, MD, past AHS president and Editor in Chief of NeurologyLive, provides a preview of premier sessions that will take place at the upcoming annual meeting.

Dr Stephen Silberstein

Stephen Silberstein, MD, Jefferson Health

Stephen Silberstein, MD

There has been no shortage of therapeutic advancements in the treatment of headache and migraine over the last several years. The advent of anti-calcitonin gene-related peptide monoclonal antibodies has helped reinvigorate the headache specialty and has allowed us to provide effective treatments for a larger swath of patients than ever before.

All of this makes for what will be a very exciting 61st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society (AHS), which will take place in my home city of Philadelphia, July 11-14, 2019.

As a past President of the AHS, I take great pride in being part of this annual gathering that brings together clinicians, psychologists, researchers, physician assistants, nurses, and other health professionals to share their latest research and clinical experiences, learn from leaders in the field, and network with their peers.

This year’s meeting will provide an exceptional stage for the discussion of hot topics in headache, with 3 scheduled plenary sessions, a debate, and several scientific sessions, not to mention numerous poster presentations.

The meeting begins Thursday with a Basic Science Symposium, moderated by Rami Burstein, PhD, and Amynah Pradham, PhD. Topics discussed will include perivascular CGRP actions, migraine pain and opioid mechanisms, and the role of inflammation in migraine. I think this session is of particular importance as we look to better understand the pathophysiology of migraine and additional roles for anti-CGRP therapies.

The Thursday afternoon program includes the Opening Plenary, which features several presentations on topics across the spectrum of headache medicine, including an overview of headache treatment given by myself, a talk by Richard Lipton, MD, on how headache classification has reshaped clinical trials and practice, and an important presentation on migraine advocacy given by William Young, Jr., MD.

Elizabeth Loder, MD, MPH, chief of the division of headache and pain at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will present a timely and important message to attendees during the Seymour Solomon Award Lecture, focused on headache medicine in the #MeToo era.

I’m looking forward to learning more about top research in the first Scientific Session, which will feature presentations on topics including migraine and cardiovascular disease in women, telemedicine in migraine management, as well as data on the effectiveness of outpatient infusion treatment at a headache center.

Friday’s Plenary II session explores the theme of homeostasis, with presentations on the associations between pain and hunger, as well as seasonal and circadian variations in headache.

Those of us who are actively treating patients won’t want to miss Saturday’s Industry-Submitted Abstracts session to catch up on the latest data on pharmaceutical agents including atogepant, ubrogepant, galcanezumab, fremanezumab, erenumab, and rimegepant, as well as alternative therapies like vagus nerve stimulation, remote electrical neuromodulation, and occipital and trigeminal nerve stimulation.

Not to be missed on Saturday is a Debate about what the efficacy of CGRP therapies tell us about migraine pathophysiology. Moderated by David Dodick, MD, the first argument by Rami Burstein, PhD will focus on peripheral mechanisms of migraine, while Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, will present his rebuttal on central mechanisms of migraine. The discussion should be lively!

The Saturday program concludes with the John R. Graham Award Lecture, which will be delivered by Vincent Martin, MD. The topic of choice — migraine triggers – is certainly of high relevance to healthcare providers as we work to counsel our patients on improving their self-management of migraine.

The meeting concludes on Sunday with the Plenary III session, which will feature relevant discussion of practical clinical issues faced with new acute and preventive therapies, which will be delivered by Matthew Robbins, MD, as well as an update on both the science and clinical management of cluster headache, given by Stewart Tepper, MD.

The AHS Annual Scientific Meeting serves as a great forum for learning for healthcare professionals at all stages of their career, so I hope that you’ll join me in Philadelphia.

Be sure to check back with NeurologyLive throughout the week for live coverage from the meeting floor.

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