Chocolate: friend or foe?
Worried about treating yourself to chocolate over Easter?  Read Dr. Lewis’ article to separate fact from fiction.

The National Migraine Centre will be moving in 2016! Help Needed!

Burn off those Easter Eggs with a Sponsored Run!
Help support us in a number of different ways! 

Are you a migraine survivor?
Tell us your story.

Carmel’s Story
‘Seek help sooner rather than later!’

Thanks – Payroll giving
Support our team who will be participating in running events to raise funds for the Centre


Happy Easter!

We wish all our readers a migraine free bank holiday weekend! 

With Easter upon us many of you may be tempted by the many chocolate eggs that surround us.  In the article below our Dr. Lewis separates fact from fiction when it comes to chocolate being a trigger for migraine.

Chocolate: friend or foe?

Are you worried that treating yourself to chocolate Easter eggs could lead to an unwanted migraine?

A link between cocoa products and migraine headaches will be familiar to many migraine sufferers. It has also been the subject of scientific investigation as far back as 1974. There must be worse ways to contribute to medical research than being asked to eat chocolate! This is exactly what has been asked of migraine-sensitive volunteers by several similar studies which have tried to explore the possibility that chocolate may trigger migraines. Volunteers were given chocolate or an identical chocolate substitute to eat and asked to report on the pattern of their headaches and migraines. The results of these studies seem to show that chocolate is no more likely than a chocolate substitute to trigger migraines or headaches.

What should we make of these findings? Should chocolate not be considered a migraine trigger? It is important to recognize that craving for sugary foods can be an early symptom of migraine (the technical term is a “prodromal symptom”; a symptom which can occur hours to days before the onset of migraine headache). A migraine sufferer might respond to such a craving by eating chocolate only for the migraine to follow. This does not mean that the chocolate triggered the migraine, rather that eating chocolate was a response to a symptom of a migraine which was already starting. Also, for many sufferers, migraines are not triggered by a single trigger factor but rather by several factors which occur close together in time. This might mean that a chocolate bar as a pick-me-up the morning after a night on the town (other triggers: a late night, drinking alcohol) could lead to a migraine developing whereas an Easter egg in the absence of any other triggers could be fine.

For some of you reading this, chocolate may be an obvious trigger for your migraines and I certainly wouldn’t advise you to change the dietary habits which work to control your migraines on the basis of this scientific research. For others, you may feel that it gives you the confidence to give yourself a bit of a treat!



The National Migraine Centre will be moving in 2016! Help Needed!

After 35 years of being in the same building it looks like it is our time to move on. We would love to stay however our landlord wants the building back so we have no alternative but to relocate during 2015/6. However we are much more than a building and intend to be available to support you and your friends and families, just in a new home.

We do need your help however, as finding a new home is a huge task especially with a limited budget.  There are several ways you may be able to assist us such as:

  • Let us know if you are aware of potentially suitable premises near a main line or central London tube station. The search will be for buildings of between 1,750 sq. ft. and 2,250 sq. ft.
  • You may work in an organisation which has a building, empty floor or space they no longer use possibly because they are tied into a lease (our aim would be to have a minimum of 2 years use).
  • You know a philanthropist who may wish to donate to help us purchase a building for the future.
  • Do any of you possess the skills, experience or expertise in relocating?  Would anyone be willing to work pro bono or have contacts to help us find our new Centre?

If you feel you can help in any way then please contact our Chief Executive on 020 7251 7805 or send her an email to heather.sim@nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk.  We appreciate all of your support and are looking forward to carrying on our work somewhere new!


Burn off those Easter Eggs with a Sponsored Run!

If after the Easter weekend and eating too many chocolate Easter eggs you feel you need to burn off those extra calories then consider taking part in a sponsored event while raising funds so that we can continue to treat migraine and headache sufferers like you.
There are so many fun ways to raise money – here we have gathered some ideas. If you have any other fundraising ideas please let us know – there can never be too many!

Sponsored events

If you would like to take part in a sponsored event of some kind, for example starting off with a fun run and possibly working your way up to a 10k run or further, we would be very grateful.  After all some recent studies suggests that moderate exercise can reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks in some people, so it may be worth giving it a go. You can use Virgin Money Giving to help raise even more money. If you are considering a fundraising event of any kind it is worth checking if your employer would be willing to match what you raise. Many employers regularly do this, for example WHSmith and many Banks. For more information and advice please contact us on 020 7251 3322.

Spreading the Word

As our main source of income is patient donations one of the most important fundraising activities is reaching out to potential patients and telling them that we exist. So many of our patients remark that they wish they had found out about us sooner. So becoming more visible to the public, and thereby to those who could use our services, is important. We therefore ask you all to spread the word, to family and friends, but also to colleagues and maybe even your occupational health service, and especially to your GP.

We have A3 posters and leaflets available to promote the Centre, which you could display at you GPs surgery or at your place of work.  If you feel this is something you could do then let us know by giving us a call on 020 7251 3322 and we can arrange for these to be posted to you or you can pick them up during your next visit.

Raising funds online

You can also raise money for us while using the Internet and shopping online. If you use easysearch when you want to find something online you add pennies, which might not sound a lot but it adds up. Best of all it is entirely free!

There is also easyfundraising which means that we get a cash-back donation when you use the site for your online shopping. There are over 600 brand names including; Amazon, M & S, John Lewis, Tesco, Direct Line Insurance, Argos, Boden, the Body Shop, Laura Ashley, B & Q, Waterstones, Vodafone, WH Smith, Dell, Tiscali, Next, PC World, HMV, Boots & Comet.

“We used easyfundraising when we renewed our car insurance and it gave £30 to the Centre without costing us a penny!”

If you wish to make a purchase you can log on to http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/migraineclinic, find the company you normally use and simply click the link. The donation will then go straight to The National Migraine Centre. Like easysearch this does not cost you anything.


If you are scrapping a car or selling an old run around; instead of paying someone to collect it or having the hassle of selling it go to Giveacar and fill in the form and they will arrange a time to pick the car up, within 7 days, and take it away for free. We will then get in touch to thank you and tell you how much your car raised for the Centre. For more information see the Giveacar FAQ.

Do you have small printer cartridges or old mobile phones you no longer use?  You can donate these to help raise money for our Centre.  Pick up your own freepost envelope at the Centre or visit Recycle4Charity.co.uk to find out more.

You can now donate any foreign currency that you have left over from your holiday. Simply bring it with you to the Centre or post it in to us:

The National Migraine Centre
22 Charterhouse Square
London, EC1M 6DX

 Migraine Survivor Text2

Are you a migraine survivor?  How did you take control of your migraines without them taking control of you?  We would love to hear your stories.  Tell us how you survived the debilitating condition. What are you able to do now which you never thought possible?  We would like to share these stories and will be choosing one to show case in our September newsletter, during migraine awareness week.  Please send in your stories along with any pictures to info@nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk.


Carmel’s story. ‘Seek help sooner rather than later!’


Carmel a mother from Cheshire explains how debilitating her migraines were before coming to the Centre and how for the sake of her children it was important to get her life back.

Watch Carmel’s story by clicking here.

Book an appointment at the National Migraine Centre today and take control of your migraine! Call us on 020 7251 3322.




We wanted to say a big thank you to Sarah Turner who has recently set up a regular donation via Workplace Giving.

Payroll giving means that a donation is deducted from your salary, before tax. This ensures that we receive all the tax on your donation, which for higher rate tax payers adds 40% to their donation. So not only is it easy for you – it also increases the size of your donation! For more details on payroll giving have a look at the Charities’ Aid Foundation website. Also check with your payroll administrator to see if your employer is already set up to do this.

Support Our Team

Members of our team here at the National Migraine Centre will be participating in sponsored running events this year and would love your support.

Lauren Shirazi will be running the Morrisons Great Newham 10k on Sunday 19th July for the Centre.  Even having a serious foot injury can’t stop our dedicated member of staff running to raise funds for us.  Visit her Virgin Money Giving page here.

Charlotte Burr will also be participating in a running event to raise funds for the Centre.  She will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday 11th October.  If you would like to sponsor her then please visit her Virgin Money Giving page by clicking here.