WHAT IT IS
Founded in 1990 to promote and conduct research in the clinical neurosciences, headache medicine in particular, the CIRNA Foundation – CIRNA is the acronym for Centro Italiano di Ricerche Neurologiche Avanzate (Italian Centre for Advanced Neurological Research) – is formally recognised by the Italian Ministry of Health (ministerial decree, 2nd February 1995; Official Gazette no. 66/20 March 1995).
WHAT IT DOES
The Foundation aims to encourage the spread of knowledge relating to the sphere of headache syndromes: primary (idiopathic, secondary (symptomatic) and co-morbid (associated). Currently, the Foundation’s activities revolve around chronic medication overuse headaches (PERCORSO CARE, which, in the course of life, are gradually complicated by emotional/affective disorders, sleep disorders, autonomic disorders, eating behaviour disorders, acceleration of stress-related ageing processes, and incorrect lifestyles.
HOW IT OPERATES
The Foundation instituted and promotes the “Ottorino Rossi Award“, an international prize awarded annually to scientists who have made a fundamental contribution to knowledge in the neurosciences, and the “Giorgio Michele Kauchtschischvili Prize“, which is awarded every two years to outstanding young European researchers involved in advanced headache research.
Currently, the “Ottorino Rossi” is an award of IRCCS Mondino Foundation (twenty-sixt edition in 2015), whereas the “Giorgio Michele Kauchtschischvili” is an award of Consortium UCADH (eleventh edition in 2013).
Since 1992, the CIRNA Foundation has published Confinia Cephalalgica, a four-monthly scientific journal that contains original articles, reports of interesting clinical cases and of impossible cases (clinical descriptions of rare or difficult-to-diagnose cases), reviews, editorials, therapeutic and historical notes and congress reports. Recently, the journal has been included in SCOPUS database (in addition to EMBASE).
Since 1999, the Foundation has had its own website, www.cefalea.it, where patients can “compare notes”, put questions to specialists, obtain information relating to Italian headache centres accredited by the Foundation, and find out about the state of the art in headache research. The same year saw the setting up, within the Foundation, of “Alleanza Cefalalgici” (Al.Ce Group-Cirna Foundation Onlus), a working group of patients and physicians who together aim to improve the quality of the care and the information available to “headache” sufferers.
The group is part of the World and the European Headache Alliance (the WHA and the EMHA) and operates through regional sections that are growing all the time. It’s also founder member of the Italian Migraine Project. The official organ of the Al.Ce Group is Cefalee Today, an information leaflet published by the CIRNA Foundation whose main aim is to cover, in accessible and informal way, news and specialist topics relating to headaches and headache-related pathologies. The leaflet will reach one hundred numbers at the end of 2015.
Since 2001 it launched the competition entitled “Cefalee in cerca d’autore” (Headaches seeking for an author), an initiative intended to offer headache patients an opportunity to use their creativity as a means of externalising their problem. Since 2002, the competition has been an integral part of “La settimana delle cefalee – a headache break”, an event that provides headache sufferers with a chance to meet those who study headache and who are involved, in their daily work, in the quest to treat them. Since 2012 this initiative has been replaced with many smaller meetings and conferences promoted by the local sections.
The present onlus projects are “Quando la cefalea va a scuola” (When the headache goes to school) and “Quando la salute parla italiano” (When the health speaks Italian).