HC Deb 21 May 1963 vol 678 cc170-1
14. Mrs. Castle

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what basic research into the cause of migraine is being carried out by the Medical Research Council.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Science (Mr. Denzil Freeth)

The aspects of the Medical Research Council's programme considered likely to throw light on the causes of migraine include studies on the blood vessels of the brain, hormone disturbances, and disorders of the special senses, particularly those of the eyes and ears.

Mrs. Castle

Is the hon. Member satisfied that the work being done in this direction is extensive enough, in view of the large number of migraine sufferers in this country and the fact that we seem to be up against something of a medical mystery in this field? Is it not a fact that the funds which this country devotes to medical research in general are totally inadequate? Will the hon. Member therefore see that the sums devoted to this aspect of it are increased?

Mr. Freeth

The difficulty about research into the causes of migraine is that it is really a symptom of what may turn out to be a considerable number of different states. The Medical Research Council is always ready to consider sympathetically applications which are made to it for grants for research into subjects which may have a bearing on migraine. In regard to the second part of the hon. Lady's supplementary question, I do not believe that the Medical Research Council is being kept short of money by the Government.

Mr. Rankin

Does the hon. Member realise that there are 5 million sufferers from this ailment in Great Britain? Will he look a little more closely into the question of research, because it would appear that while research goes on it is not sufficiently organised and consolidated.

Mr. Freeth

As far as the Medical Research Council is concerned, this work is Co-ordinated, and there is a close interchange of information. The difficulty is that research into the causes arid treatment of migraine have so far been very unrewarding, because of the large variation of precipitating factors and responses to treatment from patient to patient. It is not a single disease upon which we can turn the spearhead of attack.

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