Julia Craig

Supervisor: Thilinie Rajapakse

Project: A clinical trial of a wearable childhood migraine treatment

“The skills I've learned have been so influential to my professional development both as a researcher and medical student.”

Migraine affects one in 10 children and adolescents, making it a leading cause of disability among pediatric-aged populations. The Headache Program at the Stollery Children's Hospital is a multidisciplinary clinic that serves pediatric patients who suffer from chronic headaches that often do not respond to treatment. These patients experience migraine headaches 15 or more days per month. To manage chronic migraine pain, patients rely on numerous medications with associated side effects. Some children with chronic migraine can also become resistant to conventional treatment and rely on more invasive options such as injection therapies.

An alternative therapy for migraine treatment is Cefaly®, a wearable medical device that transmits electrical impulses to nerves in the forehead involved in headache generation. Cefaly® is government-approved in adult populations and has been found to significantly reduce pain during migraine attacks. 

Throughout the summer of 2022, we investigated Cefaly® for use in pediatric patients by conducting a focus group to understand adolescent perspectives on using novel treatments like Cefaly® for migraine management. A patient partner was recruited and has joined our research team. Using this patient input, the next phase of the study is to design the protocol and initiate a clinical trial.     

This study aims to explore the use of Cefaly® in adolescents aged 12-21 experiencing a migraine attack. Reduction in pain and resolution of the most bothersome symptoms will be measured using a self-reported visual pain scale before, one hour and two hours after treatment with the device. This study will be conducted remotely, with patients given a Cefaly® device and educated on its use in an e-health appointment. 

The project will provide valuable preliminary data on Cefaly® for effective at-home treatment of pediatric migraine and demonstrate the utility of engaging with patients to investigate novel medical technologies.

Julia Craig was supervised by Thilinie Rajapakse and her summer studentship was funded by the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. She is enrolled in the Doctor of Medicine program.