University of California, San Francisco Headache Center

Article excerpt


The Headache Center at the University of California, San Francisco, has been around for just over a year, but already it is gaining a reputation for pioneering procedures in the treatment of migraine and cluster headaches, which have drawn referrals from physicians as far away as Hong Kong.

Some of that acclaim can be attributed to the center's director, neurologist Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, who has garnered widespread attention for his research and clinical work. Goadsby came to UCSF in 2008 from the Institute of Neurology at University College London, where he was involved in aggressive headache disorder treatments.

According to Headache in Primary Care, a book Goadsby co-authored in 2003, patients with various types of headache are seen more frequently by primary care physicians than are patients with bronchitis, emphysema, or peptic ulcer disease. A majority of patient referrals at UCSF Headache Center come from primary care physicians, with neurologists sending most of the rest.

Goadsby has imported some of the headache therapies he used in England, and in a short period, he and his staff have developed the base for high-quality inpatient and outpatient clinical programs. For example, the center offers intravenous aspirin administration, a treatment Goadsby found effective in England for medication-overuse headache caused by excessive use of analgesics.

Working with different UCSF neurosurgeons, Goadsby and colleagues are studying neurostimulation for headache disorders that may not respond to other therapies. …