By Tate Papworth
A leading neurologist hopes to see the western suburbs become the nation’s capital for migraine research.
Professor Tissa Wijeratne said that while migraines were incredibly common, little has been done to treat the debilitating disorder.
“Australia is one of the most developed, luckiest countries in the world. Medicine in Australia is quite well advanced, however, Australia’s leading cause of disability at this point of time is migraine, which affects we believe just over six million Australians according to the latest global burden disease data,” he said.
“This cost the Australian economy close to $40 billion in 2018 alone. It continues to remain the least respected, worst managed, most unrecognised medical disorder in this country. It is very disappointing.”
Professor Wijeratne said his long-term dream is to see a national centre of research of excellence established in the west to tackle the problem.
“Australia is the only developed country with no national centre that is purely dedicated to the commonest medical disorder in the world that would drive research, which is quite sad,” he said.
“We have some of the brightest and most brilliant young minds in the world. We need to create platforms for these younger and brighter minds to work with older minds collaboratively.
“I would love to see the establishment of a national, major research centre of excellence, hopefully to be physically located in the western side of Victoria. It will be a platform where the whole globe can come and spend some time.”
While a national centre is still just a vision, Professor Wijeratne has established the National Migraine Foundation in Keilor East.
Through his influence, Professor Wijeratne was able to have a World Brain Day, held annually on July 22, to centre around migraine.
However his plans extend beyond the day.
“I live in Melbourne and I chair this globally, so this is a unique opportunity for us to lift the profile of this illness. Therefore we’re launching the first ever National Migraine Walk on July 21, the day before World Brain Day.
“It’s a Sunday, there’s a football match on that day and I hope some of those fans can come and help us with this great cause to build a better Australia, with better brains and hopefully migraine fee.”
The walk will take place from the Queen Victoria Gardens, opposite the Arts Centre to the State Library.
It will begin at 2.30pm.