UCLA. Photo by John Schreiber.
UCLA. Photo by John Schreiber.

UCLA Health Sciences Tuesday announced a $10 million gift, most of which will support research on migraine, a debilitating neurological disorder that affects about 36 million people in the United States.

The gift was made by Wendy and Leonard Goldberg. She is an editor and author and her husband is a longtime film and television producer who is currently executive producer of the CBS series “Blue Bloods.”

More than 90 percent of sufferers are unable to work during their migraine attacks, costing employers $13 billion a year in lost work days, according to the university. Every 10 seconds, someone in the U.S. goes to an emergency room with a migraine-related complaint.

The gift, which names and endows the UCLA Goldberg Migraine Program, is the largest-ever donation from individuals to support migraine research and treatment, said Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences.

“It will be a complete game changer in the field of headache and migraine — locally and globally,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization, migraine is the third most common medical disorder worldwide. It is closely linked with a variety of other disorders, including chronic pain, stroke and depression.

Although it is a major public health issue, migraine has remained largely in the shadows, and attacks are commonly minimized as “just headaches.”

Migraine is a complex disorder. There is a major genetic component, meaning that children of parents with migraine commonly suffer from the disorder.

“Migraine is generally under-recognized as a major medical problem, in part because it is not fatal,” said Dr. Andrew Charles, who will lead the new migraine program. “But it is not hyperbole to say that it can ruin lives.”

Wendy Goldberg said she and her husband “have seen firsthand in friends and family members how debilitating migraines can be. We are eager to help find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.”

In addition to the portion of the gift supporting migraine research, $500,000 will establish the Goldberg Head and Neck Fund in the department of head and neck surgery under the direction of Dr. Gerald Berke. The remaining $1.5 million will establish the Goldberg Health System Fund.

The donation is part of the $4.2 billion UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.

—City News Service

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