An interesting article titled “Interictal, circulating sphingolipids in women with episodic migraine: A case-control study” written by B. L. Peterlin and et al. discusses that a new marker in blood may have been found for episodic migraine (Neurology, 2015). Episodic migraine is when a patient has less than 15 headaches per month.
The researchers performed a study with 52 women with episodic migraine and 36 women who did not have any headaches. They all had to undergo a neurologic exam, gave blood samples, and had their body mass index measured. The women in the study with migraine had an average of 5.6 headache days per month. The blood samples were tested for a group of lipids that are known to help regulate inflammation in the brain and participate in energy homeostasis.
The study found the total levels of lipids called ceramides were decreased in women with episodic migraine when compared to women with no migraines. It was found that women with migraine had approximately 6,000 nanograms per milliliter of total ceramides in their blood and women without headache had about 10,500 nanograms per milliliter. Each standard deviation increase in ceramide levels was found to be associated with over a 92% lower risk of having episodic migraine. The researchers also tested two other types of lipids in the blood called sphingomyelin and found them to be associated with a 2.5 times greater risk of migraine with each standard deviation increase.
The researchers explored the blood from a random small sample of 14 patients. From looking at a panel of lipids from these patients they were able to correctly identify those who had migraine or those who did not have migraine. The researchers noted only women were included in this study and patients with chronic migraine were not included. In addition other headache types were not included in this study. So more research is needed to confirm that these lipids in the blood allow one to tell if someone suffers from headaches or not.