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The Big Migraine Questions Report 2024

Selected correlations from our data that are starting to shed light on possible answers to some of the biggest questions that face people living with migraine.

When individuals track weather and migraines, does weather really turn out to be a trigger? Is it when the barometric pressure goes up – or, down? What about the most commonly suspected food triggers? 

Over 50 thousand people have used our app to finally get a clear picture of which of their suspected triggers actually correlate with their episodes. In this report, we dig into the overall dataset and explore population-based insights from a ‘Real World Data’ perspective.

Welcome to the first annual Big Migraine Questions Report. We’re excited to share this hand-picked set of interesting statistical findings and give you our take.

Question 1: Does Bad Weather Result in More Migraines?

We’re seeing a correlation between barometric drops and users of our app recording episodes more often. Interestingly, this is not happening with big barometric swings upward. See Details

Question 2: Which Foods Are The Biggest Migraine Triggers?

Knowing which foods have a higher positive correlation to migraine frequency in the hours after ingestion is an important factor (suspected trigger) to explore for individuals living with migraine. A high correlation could suggests to the person or their doctor that this person is sensitive to that food.

In this report, we look at the food triggers that came up as ‘highly correlated’ more often over a population, rather than an individual. These statistics can help people who are just starting to find triggers narrow down where to look, help researchers prioritize, and help doctors with consults.

This list contains some interesting ‘real world’ correlations with the usual suspects (e.g. red wine, chocolate), and a few on the list we weren’t expecting.

Question 3: What Medications Do People Stay On the Longest (Most Effective)?

People track medications and treatments in our app. We wondered which medications people track are taken longer, on average. Over a group of people – then, that might suggest the medication is more effective. This is the hypothesis we put forward while looking at this data.

Question 4: How Do Exercise, Activity and Workouts Affect Migraines?

In this section of the report, we look at both workout frequency and steps activity. Both seem to point to the same conclusion – overall, when people are tracking activity, more activity correlates with fewer migraines.

Keep in mind, only people with the ability to exercise will be tracking workouts. And, a lot more analysis needs to be done to look at this data across various scenarios. This part of the report is one area we are looking forward to expanding into further in future reports.

Question 5: Does Skipping a Meal or Fasting Produce a Migraine?

We look at the data on skipping meals. Users who track this have a clear correlation overall on skipping meals (i.e. fasting) as a trigger for episodes.

Question 6: How Will Real World Data Change The Game for People Living With Migraine?

Real world data is incredibly valuable for population data studies and AI training. We can start to get clearer answers to questions like:

When a medication is taken, what happened in the hours after? (Keep in mind, current EHRs only track if a med was prescribed. But, was it taken? Did it cause a reaction? Was it effective? – None of that is a question we can even start to assess with EHR data. Clinical trials often track for larger side effects. Ongoing RWD datasets can start to cross reference population attributes (e.g. age of migraine onset, age, local air pollution, etc) with the effects of what we put in our bodies, how and when it’s administered – and, a lot of other very important dynamic axis.

A word about data privacy

We are committed to data security and keeping private information private. 

As with all that we do, we work to ensure that no source data is ever shared. This report only gives aggregate statistics. We believe what is shared in the report can help both patients and doctors. This is the first report of it’s kind – no other app company like ours shares these learnings. 

Why not sell the data?

We are grateful to all the people who have purchased premium on the app. They make it possible for this report to exist – and, for our company to exist without the need to sell data as our business model.

We acknowledge that a normal business model is to sell people’s data in order to keep a company running (funds have to come from somewhere!). Yet, we stick to creating great free software that meets the tracking needs of our users. And, we make our money by selling an enticing premium level that adds non-critical features to those who want the upgrade. All basic tracking is free forever.  

We use the overall data as a way to benefit everyone. This is smart business. We follow a ‘for profit for good’ philosophy.

We are proud of taking this different, more sustainable, patient-centered, more secure path. By sharing what we are learning with the larger community of patients, researchers, and doctors who can benefit directly, we aim to be a positive force in migraine recovery for all of us.