Gisela Terwindt is professor of Neurology, in particular paroxysmal brain disorders, at the department of Neurology of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). She is director of the Leiden Headache Center and deputy head of the Neurology department. She is chair of the International Headache Society (IHS) Clinical Guideline Committee and the Women’s Leadership Forum. In addition she is board member and chair of the Scientific Committee the Dutch Headache Society. She chaired the Headache Treatment guideline Committee for the Dutch Neurology Society, and was committee member for the International Headache Classification, and board member of the IHS. She has published ≈350 scientific papers and book chapters on headache, migraine, and hereditary neurovascular syndromes. She received a prestigious personal grant from the Dutch Research Council (VIDI).
Paroxysmal Cerebral Disorders
Headache and Cerebral Hereditary Angiopathies
Gisela Terwindt her research interest is to unravel neurobiological and molecular triggering mechanisms leading to migraine attacks, and to identify treatment targets for the acute treatment and prevention of attacks and disease chronification. The coming years her teams will aim for E-Health applications based on patient-specific triggers and home-based early markers for upcoming migraine attacks to improve self-management and healthcare in migraine patients. In addition, her group is studying the pathogenesis of rare monogenic disorders such as Familial Hemiplegic Migraine (FHM) and Cerebral Hereditary Angiopathies (CHA, among which are RVCL-S and HCHWA-D (Dutch CAA), www.lumc.nl/CHA) which may serve as genetic models to study the pathogenesis of migraine but also improve mechanistic insight in the pathophysiology of other common neurovascular disorders, including stroke and vascular dementia. With this she is increasingly involved in the migraine-stroke relationship with a special focus on women, and has a special interest to study female-specific trigger factors and complications in migraine (www.whatstudy.nl). Her translational research approach fits perfectly the “National Wetenschaps agenda” to approach brain dysfunction from a personalized medicine perspective.
Migraine and related paroxysmal brain disorders deserve more care. Gisela Terwindt aims to contribute to the further development of headache as an important area of focus in healthcare. Because the LUMC is the only academic expertise center in the Netherlands for headaches, the Leiden Headache Clinic is a last resort for hard-to-treat headache patients. In addition, an important goal will be to ensure innovation in diagnostics and care at an (inter)national level. One of those innovations is the implementation of E-questionnaires and an E-headache diary.
Terwindt is director of the Leiden Headache Clinic (www.lumc.nl/migraine) and links care for headache and related paroxysmal brain disorders to research (www.hoofdpijnonderzoek.nl).
Woman specific issues
Migraine is three times more common in women than men. Migraine is an important risk factor for stroke , especially in young women. Supported by grants of the Dutch Hearth and Brain foundations and Dutch Research Counsil, female specific research on migraine and its relationship to stroke is performed together with the Erasmus MC. See also www.whatstudy.nl.
Cerebral Hereditary Angiopathies
Together with the department of Clinical Genetics, Gisela Terwindt runs the CHA clinic (www.lumc.nl/CHA) for hereditary neurovascular syndromes with a special focus on RVCL-S, CADASIL, and HCHWA-D (Dutch CAA, “Katwijkse ziekte”). Retinal Vasculopathy with Cerebral Leukoencephalopathy and Systemic manifestations (RVCL-S) and HCHWA-D (“Katwijkse ziekte), a hereditary form of Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy (Dutch-CAA), are monogenetic neurovascular models for migraine, stroke, and vascular dementia and are studied to identify early biomarkers (MRI, blood, CSF) in the pre- and early symptomatic phases. The aim of these natural history studies is, in combination with translational studies on organ-on chip models, to identify new therapeutic possibilities.
Gisela Terwindt studied Biology (master 1991) and Medicine (MD 1993) at the Leiden University. She defended her thesis “Clinical Genetics of Migraine” at the Leiden University in 1998, during her PhD project she was trained with additional courses on genetics, statistics and epidemiology (Erasmus and Leiden Universities). She started her residency in Neurology at the Leiden University Medical Center (1998) and was appointed as neurologist at the LUMC in 2003. In 1993 she was selected for the international ‘’Headache Masters’’ post doctorate education. Since 1998 she has been active in many committees of (inter)national headache organizations. Currently she combines her work as neurologist, with interest in headache and (hereditary) neurovascular syndromes, with translational scientific research and education of residents and medical students (from 2013 until 2018 she was coordinator for Neurology for the master Medicine, and in 2017 the Neurology internship at the LUMC was nominated for best internship). On October 1st 2020 she was appointed as full professor of Neurology (date of inaugural speech not yet planned).
Honors and Awards
Terwindt is recipient of the MacDonald Critchley Lecture award for “Migraine and Women” at the Migraine Trust International Symposium (2018, London), and the Marcia Wilkinson Memorial award from Anglo-Dutch Migraine Association for research on migraine and genetics (2017). She was awarded with the VIDI prestigious personal grant of the Dutch Research Council (2010) for the project “Chronification of migraine- the role of depression and overuse of acute headache medication’’ and the personal Clinical Fellowship award of the Dutch Research Council (2007) for the project “Towards shared genetic risk factors for migraine and depression”. In 2010 she lead the team “Kies de Aanval” for Paroxysmal Cerebral Disorders, for the annual competition for best communication of science to the general Dutch public by NWO/KNAW, for which her team was awarded with the general audience prize. She also received the Dutch Headache Award for best publication of the year by the Dutch Headache Society (1998). The H.G. Wolff Award was granted for the migraine team for "Involvement of a Calcium Channel Gene in Familial Hemiplegic Migraine and Migraine With and Without Aura" by the American Association (1997).