The Italian Almanac


Italian Life

Migraines are an 'illness of the brainy', according to a top Italian neurologist who has just launched a competition aimed at getting film-makers to inform people about the ailment through their art. Migraines, which are resistant to normal painkillers, can only develop in brains which are completely formed and which function excessively, said Piero Barbanti of the San Raffaele research hospital in Rome.

Barbanti this week presented a film festival - entitled 'There's a Short Circuit in My Head' - sponsored by the Italian Association for the Fight against Migraines. Film-makers are being encouraged to make short films which illustrate how failing to seek professional advice about migraines can be disastrous.

Experts say that most migraine sufferers only go to a doctor after about three years have passed since the problem emerged. This delay means that migraines have time to become a chronic feature and so they are much harder to treat. Trying to resolve the problem with standard painklillers often does more harm than good, according to researchers, because sufferers tend to use too many drugs and end up causing damage to their kidneys and bonemarrow.

Some 10 million Italians suffer badly from headaches and of these 6 million are believed to have regular full-blown migraines.