News in brief: Plant-based diet for migraine; ‘Rising star’ in neurology research; Tobacco sales ban is next step for smoke-free Australia

23 Nov 2021

Plant-based diet for migraine

Adopting a plant based diet should be considered to ease chronic migraine severity, according to a group of US doctors

Two months on the Low Inflammatory Foods Everyday (LIFE) diet, based on dark green leafy vegetables, was able to reverse chronic refractory migraine episodes in at least in one published case, according to their article in in BMJ Case Reports.

The patient had endured severe migraine headaches without aura for more than 12 years and had unsuccessfully tried prescribed medications (zolmitriptan, topiramate); cutting out potential ‘trigger’ foods such as chocolate, cheese, nuts, caffeine, and dried fruit; and yoga and meditation.

However, boosting his diet with raw or cooked spinach, kale, and watercress and limiting grains, starchy vegetables, oils, dairy and red meat, resulted in a significant improvement. The frequency of his migraine attacks had fallen to just 1 day a month; the length and severity of the attacks had reduced, and he ceased all migraine medications.

“This report suggests that a whole food plant-based diet may offer a safe, effective and permanent treatment for reversing chronic migraine,” the authors concluded, after noting several other patients had improvement in migraine after adopting a similar plant-based diet.

Rising star of neurology research

The Australian’ newspaper has named a NSW epidemiologist as its 2021 ‘rising star of neurology research’.

Western Sydney University Translational Health Research Institute Adjunct Research Fellow Dr Felix Ogbo joined the publication’s top 40 young researchers after publishing papers on global health, maternal and child health and, neurology-wise, global, regional and national burdens of neurological disorders, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

The newspaper says found its “ones to watch” by “looking for the five best-performing, early-career researchers in each of the eight main disciplines of research [health and medical sciences; life and earth sciences; chemical and material sciences; engineering and computer science; physics and mathematics; business, economics and management; social sciences; and humanities, literature and art]” via their annualised H-index, a measure which considers both their volume of research output, as well as the impact it has in their field.

“To ensure we only consider early career researchers we look only at researchers who are in the first ten years of their career,” it said.

Tobacco sales ban is next step for smoke-free Australia

The government must set an ‘end date’ to phase out retail sales of tobacco altogether if it is to meet its goal of reducing smoking to below 5% by 2030, public health advocates say.

Writing in the MJA, Associate Professor Coral Gartner of the University of Queensland says the continuing availability of tobacco from retail outlets normalises smoking as a behaviour for young people and the only realistic action plan to reduce consumption is to reduce the number of retail outlets.

The authors say industry self‐regulation and other voluntary approaches will not reduce tobacco retailing, and there is a need to adopt approaches such as a restricting sales to a limited number of licensed dealers or putting tobacco on prescription.

Setting an end date for tobacco sales will also focus efforts on smoking cessation and force the government to plan for an end to tobacco tax revenue, they write.

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