Amaal J. Starling, M.D., studies primary and secondary headache disorders, including migraines and post-traumatic headaches. This includes understanding underlying pathophysiology, establishing clinical phenotypes and exploring novel therapeutics for headache disorders.
Dr. Starling participates in clinical trials exploring novel therapeutics for migraines that are more effective and better tolerated than currently available options. She has a special interest in exploring nondrug options for the treatment of migraines, including neuromodulation devices such as single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Additionally, Dr. Starling is developing a human research model of post-traumatic headaches that will allow for the investigation of underlying pathophysiology and the development of objective biomarkers.
- Migraine. Dr. Starling participates in clinical trials to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of migraines and other primary headache disorders. Current available treatment options are often ineffective and poorly tolerated. However, there are currently a number of novel therapeutic options, both drug and nondrug, available for clinical trial investigation. Proper investigation of these novel therapeutics, which includes appropriate use of inclusion and exclusion criteria, will ensure that these therapeutic options are viable, effective and well-tolerated and will hopefully become available for clinical use in the patient population.
- Neuromodulation. Dr. Starling studies a variety of neuromodulation devices for the treatment of migraines and other primary headache disorders as a novel, nondrug therapeutic option. Her pivotal work in single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation for the preventive treatment of migraines has led to a label expansion for this device for migraine prevention in adults.
- Post-traumatic headache. Dr. Starling is currently developing a human research model of post-traumatic headaches that will allow for mechanistic investigation of the underlying pathophysiology, as well as assessment of prognostic factors and efficacy of potential therapeutic interventions. She is actively evaluating light-induced visual pain threshold and heat pain threshold in patients with post-traumatic headaches.
- Advocacy. Dr. Starling is also very active in case advocacy: specifically in migraines, other primary headache disorders, post-traumatic headaches and concussions. Annually, Dr. Starling is involved with migraine advocacy organizations and events including Headache on the Hill, Miles for Migraine, the American Headache Society and the American Migraine Foundation. She is interested in exploring the tools and techniques that can be used by providers to incorporate advocacy into clinical practice.
Significance to patient care
Migraines and other headache disorders are listed by the World Health Organization as one of the most disabling diseases worldwide. Dr. Starling's hope is that her research and advocacy will advance care for people with migraines, post-traumatic headaches and other headache disorders. She envisions a future in which all people with headache disorders receive personalized, effective and well-tolerated treatment options to improve their quality of life.