Episode #410: What if migraine was curable? “Medical mystery” Anthony Cocco went from daily debilitating migraines for 16 years to migraine-free since 2011.
Conventional treatments vs an integrative approach
What worry has to do with it
Supplements & alternative treatments
The current system is set up for failure
The Head Health App & how it can help.
Transcripts are automatically generated, so may not always accurately reflect the words/phrases used or the individuals speaking.
Welcome to the new Balanced Bites Podcast! I’m your host, Liz, a nutritional therapy practitioner and best selling author bringing you candid, up-front, myth-busting and thought-provoking conversations about food, fitness, and life.
Remember: The information in this podcast should not be considered personal, individual, or medical advice.
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Balanced Bites Podcast #410: Migraine is curable with Head Health CEO Anthony Cocco
I’m speaking with Anthony Cocco, Anthony is CEO for Head Health. Which is a company built by former migraine sufferers for current migraine sufferers. Now I was shocked in researching this episode how many migraine sufferers there actually are. It is really mind-boggling and I know there are many of you in my audience, in fact. So I want to tell you a bit about both who Anthony is and what Head Health is all about before we jump into the interview.
So Head Health is an app, but it’s really an online environment aimed to help migraine sufferers heal and it does this through over 10,000 hours of research and development to date, which encompasses data from more than 5,000 migraine sufferers, 2,000 peer-reviewed literature and journal articles, thousands of one-on-one and group coaching sessions, and the success of six migraine lifestyle programs. The company has successfully completed two pilot programs, secured a patent pending, and is currently working on its first medical journal publication. Among their proudest achievements is the reduction in migraine frequency for 90% of their pilot participants, with 23% celebrating a 100-day-plus migraine-free streak.
Now here’s who Anthony is. Anthony is a former migraine sufferer.
He experienced his first migraine at 11 years old, and for 16 long years, he suffered from chronic daily migraines. After numerous unsuccessful treatments and a harrowing adverse reaction to medication, Anthony sought answers at the Mayo Clinic, only to be left with two options: more medication or taking his health into his own hands.
Inspired by Dr. Alan Purdy’s paper, “Migraine is Curable!” Anthony embarked on a relentless journey to prove this theory and restore his brain function. Through the insights of Dr. Purdy and others, Anthony identified his triggers, understood the root causes of his migraines, and made significant lifestyle changes that ultimately transformed his health.
On May 13, 2011, Anthony experienced his last migraine and has been migraine-free ever since. Anthony’s story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all those battling migraines and has utilized his experience to help others through the creation of Head Health.
Here’s where this podcast comes in. Anthony and his team are launching the Head Health app on March 27th, 2023. That is NOW. And they’re looking for 250 people to be part of this next phase of their pilot program. So if you are interested in being among the first to experience the head health app and the journey towards better migraine management you can go to headhealth.io and opt in.
In my interview with Athnony, we cover a lot of ground.
I ask him about migraines and how they disproportionately affect females. I ask him about the most-recommended interventions and why people might not be inclined to use them. We talk about his personal experience of basically being told “sorry, can’t help you” by the mayo clinic, of all places. We even talk about the stress of trying to heal migraines causing migraines. I hope you gain as much insight as I did, and if you’re a migraine sufferer, I do hope you look at headhealth.io and find some help there. Let’s chat with Anthony Cocco, CEO of Head Health.
[00:04:03] Liz Wolfe: So I’m curious, Anthony. Is your personal experience with migraines?
[00:04:09] Anthony Cocco: I had my first migraine when I was 11, and I had one every single day until I was 27 years old. So I’m a former 16 year chronic daily migraine patient. Um, I was known as the, the medical mystery. My el just called me the bubble boy, like I was at medical anomaly.
[00:04:23] Anthony Cocco: Uh, everything changed for me. Um, in October of 2010, I had an adverse reaction to a medication that caused me to have convulsions while I was at work. And in that moment I had to pretty much make a decision, uh, and figure out something’s gotta change cuz like this was not gonna continue onward anymore.
[00:04:41] Anthony Cocco: Um, at that time I was also a recipient for, um, Botox. I was one of like the first early trial individuals inside of Illinois. But honestly, the thought of that completely scared me because 36 injections into my head when this is experimental, I was like, I just got off of an adverse reaction. Uh, how’s this gonna go?
[00:04:59] Anthony Cocco: So [00:05:00] I threw a Hail Mary and uh, I went to the Mayo Clinic. January, 2011 for my birthday, my dad and I drove down there. We met with brilliant doctors, neurologists, biofeedback specialists, and I was equipped with about a two inch binder of myself, about my symptoms, my traders, my headache types, and at the end of it they said, Anthony, thank you so much for coming out.
[00:05:21] Anthony Cocco: I forward you, there’s nothing we can do for you. You’ve tried, uh, all of our suggestions. We can suggest maybe another medication or some supplements, but yeah, we wish you, we wish you the best of luck. And, uh, Liz, you know, in that moment right there, that’s where everything changed for me. Um, I knew that I had to right understand who I was, uh, what my body type was, and ultimately my headaches.
[00:05:44] Anthony Cocco: So I went back home to Chicago and right after I got home, I found a journal article by a man named , Dr.
[00:05:51] Anthony Cocco: Alan Purdy, and it was titled Is Curable. And all of a sudden I was like, wait, you mean to tell me that? Like there, there might be something [00:06:00] here. Like, are you, are you serious? Like there’s nervous system stimuli, there’s these symptoms, there are these triggers, there’s all these things that influenced me and my migraine journey.
[00:06:09] Anthony Cocco: And that’s where I started was that point forward to really understand who I was, what my symptoms were, and become a student.
[00:06:16] Anthony Cocco: And fast forward to May 13th, 2011. I had my last migraine and haven’t had one since. And I’m pretty sure we’ll go into this, uh, this crazy story. .
[00:06:25] Liz Wolfe: I know very little about migraines, so I’m really looking to be educated today.
[00:06:29] Liz Wolfe: Yeah. What I’m curious about is what medications are even available for migraine? Is it, is it Tylenol? Or are these, are they crazy, you know, prescription medications that you’re just like, well, we can try this, but who knows if it’s gonna work?
[00:06:43] Anthony Cocco: It, it’s kind of like spinning a big, uh, like big wheel, like a rubal light wheel and just kind of seeing where it lands up.
[00:06:49] Anthony Cocco: So in the migraine space, they kind of go into, you know, medical terminology. They do what’s called the step care process, and there’s multiple different classes of medications. So if you were to go to like, let’s say the Mayo Clinic [00:07:00] type in migraine, if you go and you can see there’s two classes. It’s called acute and Preventative.
[00:07:05] Anthony Cocco: Within that, you have the acute, which is now Tylenol, and it ranges into opioids. Then if you go into the preventative side, there’s everything from injectables to pills. So truthfully, there’s about 14 different classes of medications that somebody can take two different categories and total, I think there’s now over 60 or 70 that, uh, a migraine patient could be subjected to.
[00:07:28] Anthony Cocco: So that’s everything from injectables to pills, um, inhalers, yeah, all sorts of stuff. But the problem is, is within the preventative category, this could lead you into things like beta blockers, um, anti-nausea medications, anti-epileptic, um, antidepressants. So now you are kind of crossing over into this like, interesting world, like, should I be taking this?
[00:07:48] Anthony Cocco: Should I not be taking this? This might work, this might not work. And then we’re really not subjected to kind of any of those long-term impacts because it’s kind of a off-label. So there’s just [00:08:00] so many that one can try, but it’s really just you go through the process, you try some that doesn’t work, you try another, and it’s just this trial and error for.
[00:08:09] Anthony Cocco: 5, 6, 10. I mean, there’s even people that I’ve, I’ve interacted with 32, 35, 40 years. So it’s just an ongoing process.
[00:08:18] Liz Wolfe: Wow. So I, I guess I would imagine that this is because, do they not know what causes migraines? Do we not have any idea? And it’s just this scattershot way of trying to treat or prevent whatever trigger might cause it to happen.
[00:08:31] Anthony Cocco: It’s, it’s in the brain, right? So it’s like, how much do we really know about the brain? Right? Yeah. So, you know, when we think about it, it’s like, but then it’s also to, it’s, it’s subjective, right? Because if we’re gonna look at this from the medical field, how are you really going to like, monitor or track, or really like understand pain, right?
[00:08:48] Anthony Cocco: So all these things are totally subjective. So it’s like, okay, you may feel an eight level pain today, but that could mean something completely different to me where I would never consider an eight level pain unless if right, something [00:09:00] catastrophic happened. So there’s really no measure to do that. And even by doing right MRIs or other tests, there’s no, there’s no actual test to to understand.
[00:09:09] Anthony Cocco: So you’re just objected to a lot of MRIs. And the last figure that I had that there were a billion dollars spent on MRIs and 97% of them do not actually give sort of any insight. So you’re kind of just, you go to a doctor, doctor sends you to neurologist, and then well, here you go. You kind of just gotta figure it out and it’s just this, this playing game back and forth with no starting point.
[00:09:31] Anthony Cocco: And then if there is a starting point, it’s, well, is this working for me? I heard that this is working for someone else. So yeah, it’s just a, a really interesting kind of field of like, almost like a, the land of in between, I call it,
[00:09:44] Liz Wolfe: The land of in between? Well, I have, speaking of pain tolerance, I have a friend who is unbelievably tolerant to pain.
[00:09:52] Liz Wolfe: I mean, unbel, I could tell stories, but I don’t have her permission, so I’m not going to, but they have to do with childbirth and twins. But she, I mean, her [00:10:00] threshold is like non-existent and she suffers from migraines. And now when she says like she is knocked out by a migraine, she is full. Like I can’t even imagine what that.
[00:10:11] Liz Wolfe: Means for her, given her pain tolerance. And I know that she has no idea. I mean, she knows that there are some triggers sometimes mm-hmm. that she can identify, but oftentimes she just has no idea. And I guess my question is, when you’re going through this evaluative process, is there kind of a hierarchy of, well, we’ll try these medications because they have maybe the least number of side effects, and then as you go down that road, you’re trying more and more gnarly stuff to try and, I don’t know, make a difference.
[00:10:40] Liz Wolfe: And like you said, it could take years, decades for some people to find anything that actually helps What does that process look like?
[00:10:46] Anthony Cocco: y you know, so it’s, uh, it’s interesting when you’re trying to like really identify what this thing called a migraine is or what this person, right, who has a migraine actually experiences.
[00:10:56] Anthony Cocco: And this is where I, I believe the big, the big conundrum really exists [00:11:00] because like when you say to somebody who has never had a migraine, right? It’s. It’s kind of just a headache is right, like your first response, right? Take some Tylenol or try some things. But I can tell you that for about seven years, almost daily, I was in the fetal position in a dark room, like unable to move.
[00:11:20] Anthony Cocco: But It just doesn’t impact you physically. It then starts to impact you mentally, then also spiritually, cuz it’s like you can’t show up, you can’t perform. Like, am I gonna lose my job one day?
[00:11:30] Anthony Cocco: All of a sudden you start to experience all of these, these thoughts along with it, which then can impact, your absorption, your digestion, which can also can impact, the medications you take. So that’s where it becomes very challenging and the way that it typically works.
[00:11:46] Anthony Cocco: You start off with one class and you try this several times, so it’s between two or three times for insurance on purposes, and then you can move to another and then you can move to another. And that’s typically the process, and that’s why it’s called the step care. So for me, I start off with, [00:12:00] uh, triptans and it went to like anti-nausea.
[00:12:03] Anthony Cocco: Then in the early two thousands is when I got big into, um, like opioids. That’s, I was a part of all of that. And then that led into somewhere now today where they have Botox, C G R P medications and injectables. And when
[00:12:16] Liz Wolfe: you say you are a part of all of that with opioids, I don’t wanna ask it too personal of a question, but what exactly does that mean
[00:12:22] Anthony Cocco: Uh, so it was a heyday. Um, like I could call my doctor at three o’clock in the morning and get 60 to 90 Vicodins, no questions asked. Um, it was right, the, the pain and, and how migraines fit within that. It was, I was a, an ideal candidate for, for opioid, opioid use, pain management. Thankfully I. I found myself out of it and didn’t
[00:12:45] Anthony Cocco: getting addicted as I’ve seen a lot of individuals and yeah. Fellow migraine sufferers
[00:12:50] Liz Wolfe: as well. Absolutely. As you were on this, path toward trying to figure out what was going on, were you identifying any of your own triggers around migraine? [00:13:00]
[00:13:00] Anthony Cocco: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Um, it was, so when I went to the Mayo Clinic, I had a two inch binder, pretty much who I was like every symptom, every trigger, cuz I spent about a month and a half prior to really figure this out and just journal everything, every brain dump just really figured out.
[00:13:18] Anthony Cocco: Because that’s the cool thing about us migraine patients is that like we’re taught to track, we’re taught to be very hyper responsive to the things around us. The problem is, is once we started getting above like 50 symptoms or 50 triggers, it’s way too overwhelming. So I had, uh, 212 different triggers, um, and I had 202 different symptoms.
[00:13:38] Anthony Cocco: And then I also had 16 different headache types that made this thing called a migraine.
[00:13:42] Liz Wolfe: So is that level of like hyper-vigilant? I’ll tell, I’ll tell you a personal story. Yeah. And this might be related, it might be unrelated. I, I don’t know. I have shared about this on previous podcasts. After my first daughter was born, I started having heart palpitations and panic attacks.
[00:13:57] Liz Wolfe: I didn’t know that’s what they were, [00:14:00] but I went in and I got a cardiac monitor put on to start recording these events so that the cardiologist could look at ’em and say, okay, this is what you’re experiencing and when, and this is what we’re gonna diagnose it as. But I found that, with using the cardiac event monitor and having to be so hyper-vigilant about every time it was happening and recording it, trying to figure out, you know, what the triggers were, what the circumstances around it were, I found myself experiencing those heart palpitations, like, 10 times more Yep.
[00:14:27] Liz Wolfe: Than I had previously. Did you have an experience
[00:14:29] Anthony Cocco: like that? All right. This is what I, I love about the journey because it’s like, sometimes you can tell like these, like the, these anecdotal stories, right? Where it’s like, I don’t even know, I feel like I’m kind of rambling. Like, can you relate? And it’s like, not only can I relate, like I can give you at least a dozen like, experience of that.
[00:14:46] Anthony Cocco: And I’ll, , that’s like the biggest challenge is because all of a sudden now you start to have almost like, am I doing this right? Am I not doing this right? Like, just all this angst that comes around with trying to do something that’s good. And if it’s not done [00:15:00] correctly, truthfully, it’s psychological warfare.
[00:15:02] Anthony Cocco: And the worst part is it’s gonna give you a migraine like no questions asked. So when I first started the journey, I mean, it was like six foam books, thick of like material, right? And it was like, wait, I’m trying to help people like not have a migraine and so I’m giving ’em all this, I’m gonna give ’em a migraine.
[00:15:17] Anthony Cocco: So I was like, just with the amount of information that’s out there and how you have to understand it. If it’s done correctly and really like, balanced out with thoughts or belief systems attached to it, it’s a really cool experiment. But if it’s not, it is like good luck. You’re, you’re getting panic attacks, no questions asked, like you can bet on it.
[00:15:39] Anthony Cocco: Guaranteed.
[00:15:40] Anthony Cocco: What
[00:15:40] Liz Wolfe: do you mean by belief system?
[00:15:41] Liz Wolfe: Tell me how a belief system would be pertinent to.
[00:15:44] Anthony Cocco: So when we’re talking about the nervous system, it’s kind of like the, the command center, right? Of the human body. One of the things though that we also discovered is migraine patients have extreme digestive problems So if you’re now having digestive discomfort when you think about [00:16:00] anxiety and those thoughts, it’s also digestive related, right? , there was something called migraine anxiety related dizziness.
[00:16:06] Anthony Cocco: And this happens a lot with women. It’s called vestibular migraines. So it’s emotions, it’s right, the spiritual essence of who you are. Then also then translates into your, like your physical being.. So when we think about belief systems, we’ve been told for countless days, months, years, that there is no cure.
[00:16:26] Anthony Cocco: That you can only manage that this is probably as good as it’s ever going to get for you, and you will always be reliant upon something else and you can never figure anything out. So if you start with that mentality, it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re going to doubt everything. You’re gonna question everything, and that’s a belief system.
[00:16:44] Anthony Cocco: You have to believe that something is possible to improve your quality of life.
[00:16:48] Anthony Cocco: This is one of the best success stories that, that we’ve had as a woman who’s had migraine for 20 plus years, and all she wanted to do was go on a date night with her husband because she’s un been able to do that for five [00:17:00] years, and then nine weeks she was able to do that and she was crying over the phone.
[00:17:05] Anthony Cocco: It was one of the best calls. And just even thinking about it right now and explaining this to you, like I, I’m getting just chills because it’s something as small as that, if you don’t believe that that’s possible, you can’t then start to be involved in this process. Like there’s no.
[00:17:19] Liz Wolfe: Wow. So I wanna ask you real quick, you’re a guy.
[00:17:22] Liz Wolfe: Mm mm-hmm. . , I have read that in general, women are more likely to experience migraine than men. So not only were you kind of an extreme case of migraines with experiencing these every single day, but you also are in the minority of migraine sufferers. Mm-hmm. . So how do you feel like you’re able to relate to the experiences of women around migraine?
[00:17:45] Liz Wolfe: Or is it even like a gender, like sex specific thing? Is everybody kind of dealing with the same things the same ways?
[00:17:51] Anthony Cocco: I love that question. I love that question and thank you so much for honestly asking it because I feel like it’s like almost the elephant in the room, right? Because when you, when you think [00:18:00] about right, my story and who I am,
[00:18:02] Anthony Cocco: this person that you’re seeing right on the screen, I am at 100% in, in the minority. I’m that again, that anomaly. But when you think. The patient journey. Yes, of course. I can go into statistics, right, and say at least 70% of all migraine patients are women. And then, right, you can go into my anatomy that I do not have any sort of, you know, hormonal menstrual migraines.
[00:18:25] Anthony Cocco: Like I can’t relate to any of that. So I’ll get into that part in, in just a little bit. But the nuanced things about a migraine journey doesn’t matter who you are, it’s, you can relate to those core factors, and that’s the biggest thing. It’s, it’s really about understanding, again, like who you are in this journey and what story you have.
[00:18:43] Anthony Cocco: And then from there it’s okay. Now how do you get pointed in the right direction? The benefit though that I have truthfully is so I’m a, I’m a highly sensitive person, right? Uh, I would say that a lot of me could then also be categorized into the more of the feminine sides [00:19:00] of, of me being a male. So I’m very emotional, I’m very sensitive.
[00:19:04] Anthony Cocco: Um, thoughts are a big thing. I also come from an Italian family. So I, my dad was always like, you know, okay, that’s stiff upper lip, right? You can’t show your emotions. And then once I realized, as I started getting into the, the journey of transformation, right? Re recovery remission as, as you were saying, I had to go and really understand that about me.
[00:19:23] Anthony Cocco: And it was like, wait, so now I’m relating to just the true emotional sense of, of men, of women, masculine, feminine types of energy. So that’s how I really approach all of this. And then once you start to get into , the hormonal aspects of it, I have no frame of reference. So that’s where we had to go out and get the best types of people with that.
[00:19:44] Anthony Cocco: But oh, yeah, I have conversations about all the time. I’m like, I have no idea. Like I just can empathize with you all day. I’m absolutely fascinated at the anatomy of a woman. Like I’m, I, yeah, it blows my.
[00:19:54] Liz Wolfe: Well, well, thank you. Uh, we are complex creatures. Really what I was thinking was if you [00:20:00] have a solution, you have a solution.
[00:20:01] Liz Wolfe: It’s, I, I am very not concerned whatsoever with the package that it comes in package. That’s funny. That’s funny. I made it funny there not concerned what form that, that comes in. So I can appreciate the fact that not only are you presenting what could very well be a solution for a lot of people, but also the fact that you have actually done some evaluative, , protocols and studies
[00:20:26] Liz Wolfe: on head health and on your program, right?
[00:20:29] Anthony Cocco: yes. . , our first one, which was our, was pilot program results, , submitted for, , publication here.
[00:20:35] Liz Wolfe: I want you to take me through that. Yeah. But before you take me through that, maybe walk me through your journey to starting Head Health.
[00:20:43] Liz Wolfe: At what point was it like, I’ve gotta put this together and create something for people like me who are suffering?
[00:20:49] Anthony Cocco: It was day one. It was January 21st, 2011. Um, I knew that I had to do that. Like, I, I just knew it, I knew it in my heart, but at that moment, I just got back from the [00:21:00] Mayo Clinic and it was like, yeah, you need to figure out yourself, man.
[00:21:02] Anthony Cocco: Like, what, what are you doing here? You know, you gotta help out you before you can help out anybody else. So, I knew that it would turn into something, but I had no idea because again, right in 2011, everything was a wild, wild west. Like there was just like old school message boards. Like there were no groups, communities like it.
[00:21:19] Anthony Cocco: The, the information was in the library, like, you know, using the, I’ll show my age, right? Like the Dewey decimal system, right? So it’s like you have to go into library and do all that and get very, very deep into the journal articles. So it took me 118 days to figure out who I was. And I had my last migraine on May 13th, and I haven’t had one since May 13th, 2011 was the last day.
[00:21:41] Anthony Cocco: So what then I had to do was also then experiment with myself for multiple years afterwards. So for about the first three years until about 2014, I then tried to give myself migraine. I tried to give myself different headache types, like I did that whole, um, oh, was it supersize me. I [00:22:00] tried to different fast food places for 30 days and then see like how it impacted me.
[00:22:04] Anthony Cocco: So I went from. Eating the standard traditional American diet. Um, right. Emotional wreck, migraine stigma, a whole bunch of things ended up right. Putting a lifestyle in the system in order for me, and then try to reverse that to really understand about right who the human is, and then dissect it in like a manageable way.
[00:22:22] Anthony Cocco: Because a problem with most programs now is they start with this like the lifestyle or the treatments or the things first. We don’t do any of that. We don’t even know who you are. We have no idea what your story has been, how many symptoms you have, triggers. Like we know nothing about how you process anything.
[00:22:39] Anthony Cocco: We kind of figure out those parts about right, the mind, the belief system, um, and what you ultimately want to achieve, then you can start going forward and getting small wins, which then lead you into creating right, that treatment plan in a treatment category.
[00:22:53] Liz Wolfe: So take me through what Head Health looks like as a platform, what people can [00:23:00] expect if they engage with the platform.
[00:23:02] Liz Wolfe: And you’ll also have to let me know kind of what the availability of the platform is for people and how they can plug in.
[00:23:07] Anthony Cocco: Absolutely. Yeah. So it’s, uh, coming out here in the next, uh, week and we’re opening up to 250 individuals right off the beginning. Uh, we want to keep things small and intimate right off the bat and then really scale up there because again, the biggest thing about the migraine journey is we wanted to create this to basically be like your digital hand holder.
[00:23:25] Anthony Cocco: Like we wanted to have a digital assistant because when you’re trying to go through this and do everything manual, It is the worst process hands down. Like you have worksheets, you are like tracking everything. It is just so exhaustive as you were talking about, right? With with the heart palpitations. So what we ultimately wanted to do, and this is where our pilot program came into play, is we need to understand can individuals, no matter what your walk of life is, no matter what your starting point is, can you go through something and in X amount of time, can you have an improved quality of life?
[00:23:57] Anthony Cocco: Like that’s really it. It’s really that simple. So over [00:24:00] 18 weeks, we work through you. Every two weeks new content is distributed. It’s over nine specific areas. It starts off with your mindset, belief system goals. Then we break down what your migraine symptoms are, are there any other health conditions?
[00:24:14] Anthony Cocco: What is right? Your emotional state, your mental state, your spiritual state. And then, then we get into the fun stuff, which is toxicity, nutrients, organ systems, food and lifestyle. So it’s broken down and it walks you through daily content. There’s challenges or it’s exercises, social group, and it’s just here to walk you through this journey of understanding who you are, what this unique brain and body of you needs, and then what you need to do about it.
[00:24:40] Liz Wolfe: So I’m envisioning someone going, okay, I really just need relief from my migraine. I don’t wanna talk to you about my spiritual self, or 100% or whatever. But I also am not a migraine sufferer, so I don’t know how motivated people are after suffering with something like this for a prolonged period of time.
[00:24:56] Liz Wolfe: Yeah. So I imagine you get pretty decent buy-in, [00:25:00] in general on that type of thing because people are so just tired of it. Or do you still find that people are like, I just want the right medication. That’s all I.
[00:25:07] Anthony Cocco: It’s both actually. Mm-hmm. . And that’s, that’s the best thing about it, right? Is within that journey of , the transformation, we also have medication education.
[00:25:17] Anthony Cocco: So now you can be connected, with the right types of medication that are based on your symptoms. So we built an algorithm and a whole piece of technology that identifies your symptoms, your triggers, and then starts to connect you with the right care and give you ultimately the right access with that cause all we wanna be is a connector with all of this, but when it comes down to, right, that that’s term spirituality, it’s like, have you suffered yes or no?
[00:25:40] Anthony Cocco: Right? And if yes, how bad, like how bad is this? Like are we talking to where you’ve like had to be on disability bad? Is this the point where you’ve had to quit your jobs? Is this the point where you’ve been ridiculed? Is this the point where friends have told you, I don’t wanna hang out with you anymore because you’re always.
[00:25:55] Anthony Cocco: Like how deep does this go? And once then you start to understand that [00:26:00] that’s the essence of a person. So if you then start to get into the ability of wait, you can now actually go to a social event and not have a migraine. You can actually travel on an airplane for the first time and not have a migraine.
[00:26:13] Anthony Cocco: Like you can do those things. And that’s then when you start to get into right, the quote, spirituality, because that’s just helping somebody, right, understand who they are and what their purpose. I
[00:26:24] Liz Wolfe: can see how, you know, when you go to the doctor, it’s like, gosh, I don’t feel like I was heard. You know, you go and you have symptoms and you have an experience.
[00:26:32] Liz Wolfe: You go in and you’re saying, I need help with my migraine. And you leave feeling like they don’t know you at all, and how can they really help you if they don’t know you? I actually had that exact experience, so this is really resonating with me when I went in to try and get help for. Heart palpitations that I was having.
[00:26:46] Liz Wolfe: The first doctor that I saw was a general practitioner, and I basically sat down. I described to her a little bit of what I was going through, and she basically interrupted me, prescribed me an antidepressant, and kicked me out of her office. And in that moment I was like, there’s no [00:27:00] hope for me. Like I’m not, I don’t even understand what’s going on inside my body.
[00:27:03] Liz Wolfe:
I’m not gonna medicate it yet. I’m not gonna, I need to understand why I need this. I don’t, not just that, you know, this is what we usually do for people like you and you know, we’ll follow up in six weeks. So if I had gone into that appointment and actually felt. Heard and seen, and not just because like it’s nice to be listened to, but because when the person or the platform that you’re interacting with actually has your data and understands what you are going through and can piece that together, you feel understood in a way that number one would probably open up, those channels, spiritually, mentally, therapeutically, whatever you wanna call it, and enable you to not just be open to a solution, but also to really understand and buy into the fact that that solution is actually customized and tailored to you.
[00:27:51] Anthony Cocco: Bingo. Bingo. You know, and that’s where, so our first phase of this, right, is to release the app and really make [00:28:00] sense of data because from doing this manually, there’s over 5 billion different combinations that we’ve discovered that can create this thing called a migraine, right? So in order to really have , the technological infrastructure to do this, We have to be able to interact with individuals one-on-one.
[00:28:14] Anthony Cocco: And in some cases you have to go deep into those areas and in some cases it’s not even applicable to the person. So, awesome. Cool. Checkbox onto the next, right? But our ultimate goal is, if you think about that interaction, 15 minutes maybe as average doctor’s appointment, right?
[00:28:30] Anthony Cocco: They spend what, two minutes prior to looking at your chart, maybe a copy and paste. They’re already frazzled from the last appointment, they’re coming right to see you. So in those types of instances, like there’s no way, number one, that a doctor even has the ability to like, interact with you correctly.
[00:28:46] Anthony Cocco: Um, number two, because most migraine patients are in so much pain. I mean, you’re just showing up to the appointment and sometimes you may not even remember like why the appointment was even first scheduled because now there’s a whole new symptom that’s in [00:29:00] play. So without that type of understanding of the data and the interaction, it.
[00:29:05] Anthony Cocco: We’re just setting up almost every experience to be a misdiagnosis or potential failed treatment or what we like to call an unintended consequence of actually well-intentioned interaction. Right? So what we ultimately want to do is then be able to provide the data to the doctor eventually. And this is kind of like in the phase two plan is.
[00:29:24] Anthony Cocco: So then when they go and have that two minutes in the beginning, they can see exactly what you need in three bullet points. When they then go into their their chart, they will actually have the ability to check their notes and understand a little bit more about you. So you don’t even have to like provide that information.
[00:29:40] Anthony Cocco: And if we’re able to do that, our whole goal and thought is, well, if we just freed up maybe six minutes, maybe that is the time where you can be felt, heard, understood. Actually like allow the doctor to do what they got into like practicing medicine for was to wanna help. And yeah, I just think that we’re now a byproduct with of chronic illness, [00:30:00] too much money profiteering.
[00:30:01] Anthony Cocco: Right? Just a whole bunch of, of different things that just make. Chronic illness interaction. Extremely challenging. Yeah. And that
[00:30:07] Liz Wolfe: is a whole, that has a whole other rabbit whole week. It’s been a whole episode on, yeah. Yeah. So one thing I probably should have said at the beginning, and I’ll, I’ll add this to the, the introductory portion that I’ll record separately is a lot of folks who have been following myself, and people like me for a while are probably familiar with when a practitioner creates a course.
[00:30:28] Liz Wolfe: So, oh yeah. You can buy into their course and you Absolutely. All the modules and et cetera. I wanna specify that this is not, this is not a course, this is an app. You’re gathering data to enable people to empower themselves with more information to hopefully move forward into the healing
[00:30:43] Anthony Cocco: stage, right?
[00:30:44] Anthony Cocco: Absolutely. This is not a course. There’s not anything like that. We needed to start off with like a quote unquote course like structure. Um, just to, again, to understand like, are there specific. Lanes in which somebody needs to go through, right? Is there a specific structure that needs to [00:31:00] occur?
[00:31:00] Anthony Cocco: Because again, if you just show up right in the very beginning and you’re like, okay, I’ve got these triggers, I’ve got this thing right? Food is a terrible thing for me, and you really don’t even know what you’re gonna look for. And the problem is, is you just go down that rabbit hole and now you’ve just identified 12 different articles or 12 different things, right?
[00:31:16] Anthony Cocco: That might make sense, but yet there’s no structure to any of it. And we see this all the time actually within the migraine community, is when you go to write Google for something, you’ll click on search result one, awesome details, search result two contradicts it. And like, wait, what? What am I even looking at?
[00:31:31] Anthony Cocco: Like what? Like, what’s going on here? So there is that kind of course structure to keep people identified and, and understanding and move through an educational experience. , because at the end of the day, , psychologists call this a self-efficacy. And if you believe that you’re going to do this and then have the right structure around it, you’re so much more likely to actually achieve a health outcome.
[00:31:50] Anthony Cocco: Yeah, the whole technology is based around an app.
[00:31:52] Liz Wolfe: So what does this look like in Headhouse Health? What are the features actually look like that people will be interacting with? And are they available now or are these, is this [00:32:00] gonna be for that first wave of 250 people that come through?
[00:32:03] Anthony Cocco: Yeah, so what we did, , over from 2019 to 2021 is we had a coaching program with the, the infrastructure of an educational platform as well. So we wanted to first identify if you did not have a doctor, can, a coach, or can this content right, actually help you identify symptoms, patterns, triggers, and then ultimately write, achieve health goals.
[00:32:24] Anthony Cocco: And that’s where we had 93% engagement. We had 91% reported or reduction frequency, duration of pain. But that also helped us understand like those nuances as so many individuals were feeling overwhelmed when they needed to find a medication, find a supplement, or find recipes. So by house having that data in the very beginning, we were now able to tailor the app and spend the last two years developing the app to get to a point where you have the education content, you have audios, you have videos, you have those materials that take you through a daily journey.
[00:32:56] Anthony Cocco: So it’s kind of like a, a noom for example. And then [00:33:00] what we also have our different trackers, because right now an average migraine patient could spend about an hour or plus over 12 to 13 different apps, just trying to track daily activity. So what we did is we brought all that internally, so it’s not just a migraine tracker or a symptom tracker, a trader tracker.
[00:33:18] Anthony Cocco: It actually will then be able to help you with food, medication, it gives alerts, prompts, and then write those resources to take you to that next step in the journey.
[00:33:26] Liz Wolfe: I don’t know if you’ll wanna give specifics or not, or maybe we can just give some specifics with the disclaimer around like, this is not medical advice and we’re not saying, Hey, migraine sufferers, go try this.
[00:33:35] Liz Wolfe: Oh, no,
[00:33:35] Anthony Cocco: no. . Yeah. None of that medical advice
[00:33:37] Liz Wolfe: at all. Not medical advice, but could you give us some examples of, I don’t know, what types of things, the journey Yeah. And what types of things people might find that are helpful on all those different levels. You talked nutrition, as part of your whole journey to healing, but nutrition, supplement and even medication. Yeah,
[00:33:56] Anthony Cocco: absolutely. . Is there a specific example you want me to go into? Or I can kind of do like a side [00:34:00] by side. Uh, do a side by side.
[00:34:02] Anthony Cocco: Okay, cool. So, um, let’s say right patient a has migraine tension headache. They’ve got a couple nutritional deficiencies. They’ve identified that they’re also, gluten is a big trigger for them, and they’ve now been a chronic migraine patient for 10 years. So when you think about that type of story or that type of persona, that’s a pretty deep, thi deep thing.
[00:34:26] Anthony Cocco: So just right off the bat, we know that tension headache is also stress related. We know that nutritional deficiencies can also be linked. We also know that from medication use, it’s one of the biggest ways that it now goes into quantification of migraine. So that’s typically how an episodic migraine suffers.
[00:34:42] Anthony Cocco: Somebody who has a migraine under 15 days, all of a sudden now start to get them over 15 days. Can you tell me more about
[00:34:49] Liz Wolfe: that? I, I’m not sure I fully understand Yeah, absolutely.
[00:34:51] Anthony Cocco: So this is called a medication overuse headache, or rebound headache to where the medication causes actually the migraine, or it’s known to trigger [00:35:00] the migraine.
[00:35:01] Anthony Cocco: , nine of the top migraine medications, have, , migraine or headache as a common side effect. So they’re giving you the medication and the side effect right, is of this as well.
[00:35:10] Anthony Cocco: And most of the times they don’t even identify that as a potential right. Symptom or trigger of this. So an unintended consequence. So what we ultimately like to do is, right, understand this persona and this person, and then start to break that down and be able to work with them on the way to get the biggest and best win fastest.
[00:35:28] Anthony Cocco: Because like you said, , somebody might want that quick fix, somebody might want something. So if they want something, what is the fastest way to get something? Some sort of benefit from in the beginning is an identification of a trigger, a symptom. What, what is it possibly? So in the case of this particular person, that’s a pretty big story, right?
[00:35:44] Anthony Cocco: You’ve got some medication stuff, you’ve got some nutrition stuff, you’ve got multiple headache types. Chances are you’ve probably seen a gastroenterologist, uh, a general practitioner, a neurologist. So ultimately, in a lot of cases, this is just somebody who has now gone through this for [00:36:00] multiple years and they’re very frustrated.
[00:36:02] Anthony Cocco: So what is the first way in which we can interact with that person to give them some sort of, of relief, some sort of hope, some sort of benefit. And that’s how we like to start with this. So I didn’t know if you wanted me to go into a little bit more about the medication overuse, so that kind of sums some things up or,
[00:36:18] Liz Wolfe: I mean, let’s go deep.
[00:36:18] Liz Wolfe: Let’s go for it. Okay,
[00:36:20] Anthony Cocco: cool. So this is the, now when you’re within the migraine community, this is kind of like the, the stories everybody can relate to and everybody can give so many, , just battle wounds from it of going through multiple rounds of medications and then all of a sudden a new side effect or a new symptom or a new trigger comes into.
[00:36:42] Anthony Cocco: So what ultimately happens is when you start off the journey, chances are your episodic, which means that you have less than 15 and now you’re going to be given some sort of pain reliever, um, some sort of, , acute medication. And if that doesn’t work now, then you’ll start to go into the preventative stuff, which is the off-label types of things.[00:37:00]
[00:37:00] Anthony Cocco: So when you are trying an experimenting this, you may get high dose of ibuprofen, you may be on a steroid, you may be on a triptan, you may be on multiple different classes of medications. Now that’s just for the migraine. Most migraine patients do not have just migraine. A lot of the individuals we interacted with were on multiple rounds of antibiotics for sinus infections.
[00:37:24] Anthony Cocco: Um, they’ve also then been on antidepressants prior to, and then migraines happened afterwards. So now you’re almost getting like this stacked. And what ends up happening is when you go to see a neurologist and now you’re given another medication for a migraine, it’s a very big, and it’s one of the biggest, um, triggers or factors that take somebody from episodic to chronic is medication use.
[00:37:47] Anthony Cocco: So they’ve developed this, it’s called a rebound headache is when I take a medication and I get one or medication overuse headache, which could either be the same thing or you’re overusing a medication, but either way you just went from episodic to [00:38:00] chronic or your migraine is now being worsened by said medication, or you’re now dealing with multiple side effects , and now you’re giving more medication to manage those said side effects.
[00:38:11] Liz Wolfe: It’s just, I don’t know why I am surprised it. It’s just, it, it seems like this kind of story that we hear on multiple levels with multiple ailments. I mean, you have a heart attack, you end up on six different medications, and three of them are to deal with the side effects of the other medications. And we have a whole new host of problems.
[00:38:27] Liz Wolfe: But for, for some reason, it’s still mind boggling to me with how much technology we have and how advanced we think we are, that we can’t figure this stuff out for people.
[00:38:38] Anthony Cocco: We can though, Liz, we, we absolutely can. The problem is, is the systems and the structures that are in place do not allow for that type of, , opportunity to happen, right?
[00:38:46] Anthony Cocco: Because we’re in an insurance-based business. We have, , doctors and providers that are in silos, right? Then you have medical technology, like here, lemme give you this example, right? Some of them that might blow your mind. , let’s say right that a [00:39:00] neurologist has a patient for a migraine, that patient is also seeing a mental health professional.
[00:39:05] Anthony Cocco: The only way that the neurologist, and let’s say they’re both under the same university health system, right? There’s a great chance that that neurologist will not even know that this person is seeing a mental health professional unless they’re prescribed some sort of medication that the neurologist can see, which now they’re like, oh, the only way that you’re gonna be prescribed this is if you’re seeing a mental health professional.
[00:39:28] Anthony Cocco: But yet, if that patient comes in and says, I’m just anxious all the time about the food I eat, I feel like I’m having so many food triggers, like I feel like I’m just overwhelmed with anxiety. Those two professionals will never talk. They will never be able to share notes, they’ll never be able to interact.
[00:39:42] Anthony Cocco: And then now that patient is subjected to basically being bounced back and forth when you could have saved months on end to solving right these two, this, this basic interaction. But then you also have to have prior authorizations, which then make the whole entire patient journey just a, a, an absolute nightmare.
[00:39:58] Anthony Cocco: I mean, there’s some cases where it [00:40:00] can take you up to six or seven months to see a neurologist or a headache specialist. And that’s like everything can change in that, that amount of time, which then complicates things even further. So of course we can solve this, this conundrum, and I believe if we solve for migraine, we can solve for healthcare because of how broad this is.
[00:40:19] Anthony Cocco: But it takes outside going in like it, it just can’t happen from within. It’s not designed to do that. I think
[00:40:27] Liz Wolfe: oftentimes that’s the, that’s the reality of it with a lot of things is that things start with the individual. And sort of what I’m hearing here, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, is that we have this healthcare system that not only is so.
[00:40:41] Liz Wolfe: Massive, and in some cases bloated and in most cases, so segmented, you said siloed, that there’s no crosstalk even within the same health system, and because of that, I imagine that’s part of the reason why there is no technology that’s being used across the board [00:41:00] to link all of these things up. And if there were, there would be privacy concerns, right?
[00:41:03] Liz Wolfe: Absolutely. There have been several times when I’ve been asked to connect. one thing from our military healthcare to something for school. And I’m like, actually, no. I would prefer to be the one to transport that information and, you know, know where it is and who has it. And so for that reason, you know, at first I’m thinking how, is there no way that a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic doesn’t have some kind of digital database that can be like, and spit out the thing that you need to know about your brain that’s gonna solve your problem?
[00:41:30] Liz Wolfe: Well, I get why now. But when we’re starting with the individuals, when you give somebody a tool like head health where they can input all of this vital information and have that analyzed and put together in a way that is readable, that you can derive a potential solution from, that’s where it starts. It starts with individuals saying, I have some agency here and I’m gonna use this platform to make that happen.
[00:41:56] Liz Wolfe: And then hopefully that grows into something that [00:42:00] maybe integrates with the medical system and makes things easier.
[00:42:03] Anthony Cocco: Well it’s, it’s like, it’s like this conversation, right? It’s. I can’t go into the whole entire journey with you, right? And just dump everything on you within the first two seconds, right?
[00:42:11] Anthony Cocco: Stuff has to be kind of talked about. We’re gonna explore things, right? We’re gonna go and kind of have like a, a nice choreographed dance to some sort of right sense, but also have a lot of flexibility within it to explore other areas in which may just \ come up. And because again, if the doctor does not have enough time, they can’t go into the nuance.
[00:42:30] Anthony Cocco: So they only have to be presented with the absolute basics. The other part that though does not get taken into consideration is the fact that most people who have this thing called the migraine are in unbelievable amounts of pain that are, I still to this day, I have to drive with sunglasses. And if I’m in at nighttime, because of how bright lights still just impact me.
[00:42:53] Anthony Cocco: The other day I didn’t have it. I drove past the cop car and those lights were so bright that like, I started feeling like my, my shoulder [00:43:00] started twitching, and then I started feeling my eye flutter and it’s like, You can’t bring that up into a doctor’s appointment, right? No one’s gonna be able to talk about that type of stuff.
[00:43:09] Anthony Cocco: So it has to then also be segmented out from what do you share and then what needs to be done, internally to figure out and get these kind of answers. Problem is, is just how then do you take something that’s so complex and make it very simplistic. So it has to start with the patient and it has to start with the patient identifying, ? All these things that make them them. And it has to be dripped out and very, very specific.
[00:43:32] Anthony Cocco: Five second intervals to a doctor because we can’t just snap our fingers and give a doctor six or seven minutes of free time, right? To go into. And then eventually, I don’t know, maybe in five plus years then we can actually get right enough studies in clinical trials to then have insurance really back this whole entire thing to then understand like it is a nuanced thing.
[00:43:52] Anthony Cocco: There needs to be multiple, , insurance approvals and insurance experience. But the biggest reason why a lot of ’em do not wanna play this [00:44:00] game is they don’t think that they can make money. And I think that that’s just stupid a lot of money can be made in this healthcare world. It’s just not gonna look like what it traditionally does. And that I think is the biggest problem that we all face, is we have these two competing forces going against one another.
[00:44:18] Liz Wolfe: You mentioned earlier that you are a highly sensitive person. Absolutely. And I love my, I love my HSPs. Do you find that there is an emotional, uh, a trend as far as people who identify as highly sensitive or, or anything like that in, in the data that you’ve collected?
[00:44:34] Anthony Cocco: Oh, 100%. And that’s a great question.
[00:44:36] Anthony Cocco: Um, worry. That’s the biggest one. Worry trumps almost everything. The next part is cognitive distortions. So typically when you go to a social event that you’re really looking forward to, then all of a sudden you get a migraine and then you have to leave. Something happens to you psychologically, and then now when you have to go to the next event, you actually now start to have [00:45:00] worry and that worry can now translate consistently.
[00:45:04] Anthony Cocco: Um, so when we talk about highly sensitive people and , the whole cognitive behavioral aspect of this, it’s. Really figuring out that part. And I think that’s the most interesting pieces of data, because those are stories that once we kind of identified that part where we had, uh, about 30% of individuals who fit into this category go from 16 migraines to about two or three the following month, because it was, wait, wait, I don’t have to think about this anymore.
[00:45:27] Anthony Cocco: Like, I now have a system in place and once those walls come down, that was the most fascinating part of all the data because there’s only been one paper ever written on it.
[00:45:36] Anthony Cocco: And there was kind of a link between like migraine and, and spirituality, meditation, . And that’s what the, the papers f uh, ended up finding out. But then it ended with more studies need to be done and then that’s the cliffhanger that happens. So the fact that we were able to really see that, um, from the emotional side was the, was huge.
[00:45:55] Anthony Cocco: Additionally, two biggest pieces of data. So within the industry, [00:46:00] biofeedback. Acupuncture are typically the top two, , things that you hear a lot about, or top two, like, , pieces of content that are, are actively distributed. Those are the least two pieces of content that everybody who’s ever gone through this has actually viewed.
[00:46:14] Anthony Cocco: Only 2% of people actually looked into biofeedback and about 8% looked into, um, acupuncture. People were actually looking into positive psychology. They were looking into, um, supplementation. They were looking into breath work and journaling for the top four. So what do you
[00:46:29] Liz Wolfe: mean by these two? Acupuncture and biofeedback popped up, but people were not interested.
[00:46:33] Liz Wolfe: Does that mean they were a solution that people were not interested in?
[00:46:36] Liz Wolfe: Will you unpack that for me a little bit more? Because I’ve heard a lot in my, I don’t know, my little corner of the health and wellness world, such good things around biofeedback. I personally have had some incredible experiences myself and my family with Chinese medicine. So I’m curious why someone who is so desperately looking for a solution would be so disinterested in something.
[00:46:57] Liz Wolfe: Is it the cost? Is it, they just don’t [00:47:00] believe it could actually help? And do you feel you have a role in sort of guiding people toward those things, maybe convincing them to try those things?
[00:47:09] Anthony Cocco: Great question. And uh, I will say this, I gotta give you some credit. You, you, you do very well with the, with the question a asking.
[00:47:16] Anthony Cocco: This is, this is very nice. Yeah. Nicely done, . Nicely done. That’s
[00:47:19] Liz Wolfe: why, that’s
[00:47:19] Anthony Cocco: why I do what I do. Yeah. Yeah. I like where this is going.
[00:47:22] Anthony Cocco: So the, the community or the medical field, , has. A multitude of different, , therapeutics or interventions, ? So based on the studies and based on the data that exists, there’s about six different types of supplements.
[00:47:34] Anthony Cocco: Magnesium is the biggest, nutrient that are, are related. Then B vitamin B two, and then it goes acupuncture and biofeedback as like the therapeutics that are outside of a medical, outside of medication. And then chiropractic falls underneath that. So we would think that as most individuals have , have had access to that type of information, or I’ve seen this type of data that they would want to know more and how this could possibly help them.
[00:47:59] Anthony Cocco: They didn’t want that at [00:48:00] all. And then when we started to ask ’em about it, they were like, I, I’ve done this. I just don’t see how this is really gonna benefit me now. Acupuncture may help me get to this point, but I don’t think it’s gonna help me sustain long-term.
[00:48:10] Anthony Cocco: Hmm.
[00:48:10] Anthony Cocco: You know, from the last part , absolutely 100%. We have to play some sort of role in connecting to the best resources possible, whatever that may be. And it always comes down to what does the literature tell us?
[00:48:23] Anthony Cocco: Does the literature guide us in a particular way that leads somebody to this? And that’s how the whole entire program and everything that we have, has always been built upon because it has to be scientific first, because we’re not snake oil salesman, right? We’re not pushing the woohoo things, anything like that.
[00:48:37] Anthony Cocco: Like this has to be science first. So I’ve had great experiences with biofeedback. I have about 45 minutes within the content where I talk about my story, my journey with biofeedback, the exercises I did, the apps that we recommend, write everything about that.
[00:48:52] Anthony Cocco: There’s multiple things that now come into why somebody may not want to do this. Number one is money, always 100%. Time. [00:49:00] Number two is, This may not be a surprise, but it could be. Um, the amount of time it takes to find somebody legitimate is actually too overwhelming and creates now a trigger for that migraine.
[00:49:11] Anthony Cocco: And the piece of data that we found, and I’m glad that we went into this, is 100% of every participant said that they felt overwhelmed when trying to find something new. So that depending on how this person is, if they now need to find something else and that process is now too overwhelming, they’re gonna shut down and they’re not gonna wanna figure it out.
[00:49:31] Anthony Cocco: Right? So we have to be able to hold their hand in that aspect. So it’s cost, it’s the overwhelm of finding the person. And next one is insurance. Um, trying to find a biofeedback specialist. I was fortunate enough to find one at the Mayo Clinic. Not many other people can, so then they have to go to an app or something like that, so they’re not getting that true.
[00:49:51] Anthony Cocco: Additionally, then when you have acupuncture, acupuncture’s, fantastic. Um, that’s actually how we helped several people, um, overcome concussion symptoms was through, uh, specific [00:50:00] use with acupuncturists. But I just find it though fascinating that if they’ve had a bad experience, if their insurance is told them no, if the cost is too much, those are such big berries of entry that they just don’t, they don’t wanna go into it.
[00:50:14] Anthony Cocco: And on
[00:50:14] Liz Wolfe: top of that, I think these are not things that are like you do at once and you’re better sometimes. Mm-hmm. , sometimes it is. You go and you get immediate relief. Mm-hmm. . But something, even if you overcome all of those barriers of cost and, and the newness and finding somebody, which I completely get it.
[00:50:29] Liz Wolfe: I’ve been told to try tapping. I don’t know if you’re familiar with tapping. Oh yeah. I’ve never done it. And just me. W with no, like, sense of urgency or stress around it. I’m like, ah, it just seems like a lot to learn. Like it just, mm. You know, maybe I’ll wait until I’m really desperate. But once you, you know, get over all of those hurdles, it’s like how long sometimes it takes and you start to feel like, oh, I gotta go for another appointment and I’m not sure it’s working,
[00:50:54] Liz Wolfe: and I can see that being a barrier in the long term for a lot of people.
[00:50:57] Anthony Cocco: 100%. Yeah. So you just asked about tapping. [00:51:00] So this, this is an example. We actually then give, so everything is structured around examples that somebody has used, , why this may be applicable, and then actually how to do it.
[00:51:11] Anthony Cocco: And how much time do you think it’s actually gonna take to do? Because ideally speaking, right, if you’ve never, I mean, if you are just coming from multiple medications and you’ve never tried an alternative therapy, and the next, the first thing that we talk about is, is tapping or, you know, some, some sort of like sauna work or , something on the, on the very extreme, this person’s gonna look at us like, what are you talking about?
[00:51:32] Anthony Cocco: Like, this is this absolute madness. So if somebody then is in a journaling, you know, kind of session, right? And there’s a question that’s being asked, we then will give them the opportunity, would you like to hear music? Or would you like to try a, actually a tapping exercise? So while someone’s writing, there’s actually, you can kind of do this and it can actually calm you down.
[00:51:53] Anthony Cocco: And there’s that example that exists within it. So if you, now that just bypassed all of the, you now needing to [00:52:00] figure this out, or what this actually means, it’s something very simple. And if you then wanna know more, now here’s the information. And that’s one of the easiest ways that we can actually guide somebody to those potential things that are very quick, easy.
[00:52:11] Anthony Cocco: Then who knows if you need to use it for how long? . So what really
[00:52:14] Liz Wolfe: stands out to me here is not just , the information that is contained within the head health platform, but also how you have put it together to ensure that the, the journey doesn’t cause more, more problems than, than people came in with, right?
[00:52:29] Liz Wolfe: Yeah,
[00:52:29] Anthony Cocco: absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. No, no, there’s specific check-ins, there’s all of that. And that’s why it took so long to honestly get to this point because, you know, not, not many people, you know, have like, like really understand kind of the backstory to, to get to this point. But there’s been six different trials of this specifically that have led us to this point.
[00:52:47] Anthony Cocco: Um, I mean, like I was saying in the beginning, like the first time we tried this was like six foam books, thick material. It’s like, then how do you digest that all the way down to something that’s so in the moment that then helps you? And that’s why we [00:53:00] had to do , these last two pilots to figure that part out with this, with this user journey.
[00:53:04] Anthony Cocco: And it has to be in a timeframe of five to eight minutes a day. Because now if you’re spending above that, okay, awesome. But we might actually give you a migraine on top of that. So that’s why all of a sudden we had to think about, wait, if someone’s gonna go into this, we need to build in like timers into this.
[00:53:20] Anthony Cocco: That will then give you a prompt and say, okay, you might wanna take a breath. Do you Yes or no? So that way then we’re trying to always think of those, it’s almost like a thermometer, right? The more that it rises, the more likely you are to get a migraine. So we need to keep that as low as humanly possible.
[00:53:34] Anthony Cocco: One
[00:53:34] Liz Wolfe: the things that you said is that you, you want everything to be anchored in data and anchored in the science, and I love that. My question for you though is do you or are you also contributing to the generation of science based on the data that you are accumulating?
[00:53:52] Anthony Cocco: So when we were building our team, the biggest thing that I wanted to make sure that we had was [00:54:00] individuals who, oops.
[00:54:02] Anthony Cocco: Chief medical officer actually was a migraine patient as well. Um, she’s also a neurologist, so we wanted to make sure that we checked off that box right from what the neurologist ultimately needs. Because when we think about , the, the migraine community, a lot of the papers and a lot of the studies actually are on older data.
[00:54:18] Anthony Cocco: So for about 12 to 15 years, they were using data from 1999. So there’s a lot of, that
[00:54:25] Liz Wolfe: was like, that was like five years ago, 1999. That’s, that can’t possibly be so
[00:54:29] Anthony Cocco: long ago. . So long ago. So long ago. Yeah. So they were using very, very old data in a lot of ways, and they were just using the same data for multiple years.
[00:54:38] Anthony Cocco: And then from 2002, 2005, they were using that data until 20 14, 20 15, 20 16. So there are these big gaps in data, which then led to papers that were. Published that then ended with, we need more studies like this. We need more studies. We need more studies. So when somebody then enters this, the ver that enters [00:55:00] the head health app, the very first thing that we give them the ability to do is have this consent form.
[00:55:04] Anthony Cocco: If they then fill out this consent form, we then have the opportunity to actually engage with them or work with them to go into some of those factors in which maybe the clinical trials have not been done, or maybe there isn’t funding, but it’s actually a very big area of interest that can provide benefit.
[00:55:18] Anthony Cocco: So we had to make sure that our team covered, uh, research scientists, individuals who have understood, , the i r B process, because from day one, we’ve identified course about 60 to 70 studies that we wanna put on. I, I mean immediately. And they span into these areas that go into, um, I mean some of the, the biofeedback on actually how to help.
[00:55:38] Anthony Cocco: How then do we set up nutrition? How do we look at supplementation? How then are these, um, you know, conjoint therapeutics beneficial? How then do we monitor this? So everything then has to be able to re-give back to the science community or to provide that education. Cuz ultimately at the end of the day, there isn’t about an 80,000 to one gap [00:56:00] between, um, headache specialist, neurologist, and then migraine patients.
[00:56:05] Anthony Cocco: So if we’re not able to write, make this something worthwhile that people want to get into and have an exciting opportunity, it, it’s just, it’s gonna fall short in a lot of ways. Yeah.
[00:56:15] Liz Wolfe: And one thing that is always, that I always remind myself of is how valuable anecdotal information is. Because that’s how we generate hypotheses, right?
[00:56:25] Liz Wolfe: Unless we’re really plugging into and contributing to that body of understanding and that body of data, things could be missed if you can never find out what we need to find out. So I think it’s just a really cool thing that technology enables us to gather these things in a way that’s really accessible for people.
[00:56:43] Liz Wolfe: So I would love to hear more about the platform. You’ve already told me a little bit about what people can expect. Mm-hmm. . But tell me a little bit about how this technology is going to evolve and how the field of migraine management is going to change based on the entry of head health into the [00:57:00] marketplace.
[00:57:00] Liz Wolfe: Give me whatever, whatever else you want us to know before we
[00:57:02] Anthony Cocco: close. That’s awesome. Thank you. Yeah. You know, so how it ultimately works is we wanna be that connector within the migraine space, right? So first it’s, it’s the patient-centered app to then basically provide all that data and those insights to really then give back to the scientific community, which we just talked about.
[00:57:20] Anthony Cocco: That’s always, and first and foremost has to be number one. Um, because if these, if these thought processes still exist about migraine is not curable or or we can’t , improve our quality of life, or we only can to some sort of degree, then stories like mine will just always fall to wayside
[00:57:38] Anthony Cocco: but all patients really do want is stories of hope and ability to actually give back. So we wanted to make sure that number one, we had an app that was very patient-centered and not just a buzzword. It actually meant that. , and that’s where we spent so much time really getting into the data to figure that out, because that enables us for every part going forward, which then [00:58:00] allows us to create partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to actually provide more relevant, uh, medication education when we have certain data points from an individual.
[00:58:10] Anthony Cocco: Because I don’t know if you’ve taken a medication, um, have you honestly read like the inserts that they give you? Like, have you then gone right to, you know, I mean like RX list or drugs.com and actually read Right. All the, the insights and details that they have? I mean, I, I know I haven’t right? If, unless
[00:58:29] Liz Wolfe: I’m trying to prove a point.
[00:58:30] Liz Wolfe: Probably
[00:58:30] Anthony Cocco: not. Exactly right. So it’s like if who’s gonna do that, but that is loaded with so much information that can benefit someone’s decision making. So if we have this data, we can now partner with pharmaceutical companies to actually give better insights. We have the ability to actually partner with grocery stores to provide real-time insights as to what meal plans or what foods that they might actually need.
[00:58:54] Anthony Cocco: If we then take this a step further, this is now going to go into not only the provider, because you now will have [00:59:00] detailed information to give to the doctor. But now what if we actually took it a step further and got into insurance? Because now if insurance actually has this ability, they can then know ahead of time or actually even in real time, which things to approve and which things might need more prior authorization so that there isn’t this crazy back and forth.
[00:59:18] Anthony Cocco: And then people are not missing medications or missing doses for whatever reason. So if we start off with the data, I think that we’ll have a really big opportunity to start to understand, um, how we can benefit pharmaceutical companies, how we can benefit doctors, and ultimately how can we benefit insurance.
[00:59:35] Anthony Cocco: Cuz at the end of the day, if this is paid for, And the migraine patient only has to just actually focus on getting better instead of all these other factors. Then I think that we did, , an incredible job. It’s a crazy moonshot goal, and I think if we solve for migraine, we can solve for healthcare, but all that matters is we just need to help.
[00:59:52] Anthony Cocco: . More people get healthy in the beginning.
[00:59:54] Liz Wolfe: All right. So how do folks find head health? How do you want people to find you?
[00:59:58] Anthony Cocco: Absolutely. So the website’s called Head [01:00:00] health.io and across all socials, it is Head Health Co.
[01:00:03] Liz Wolfe: Thank you so much for coming on with me. This has been quite an education. Thank you so much.
[01:00:08] Liz Wolfe: Thank you. [01:00:09] Anthony Cocco: Yeah, no, thank you. I really appreciate it.
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