Archive | Headaches

Target specific brain cells to help with neuropathic pain

Researchers from Rutgers University have explored treating chronic neuropathic pain which affects over 1 million Americans. Neuropathic pain results when nerve damage is caused due to injury, surgery or a some disease. Researchers showed that pain could be reduced in animals when microglia brain cells are targeted which are supposed to provide immunity. The researchers say that the microglia brain cells are supposed to be beneficial to the nervous system but in those with neuropathic pain these cells known as microglia have proliferated and instead become toxic. The researchers say that if they catch the injury within one to five days to inhibit microglia after nerve injury the development of chronic pain can be partially reversed. Neuropathic pain persists after the nerve has healed and is often resistant to normal pain medications. In lab mice the researchers used chemotherapy drugs to prohibit the microglia brain immune cells from proliferating. This chemotherapy drug reduced the amount of pain the mice experienced after the injury occurred. The researchers feel that minimizing microglial proliferation may be a novel approach for pain control. They hope that this could help lead to the development of more effective pain killers that can help control the pain. As one who suffers from chronic pain […]

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Migraine treament with monoclonal antibodies

Migraine headaches affect around 6 to 8% of males and 10 to 12% of females. It is one of the top five neurological conditions and costs people healthy lives. There is little research on how the current preventative treatments for migraine work. Researchers have speculated that the suppression of cortical spreading depression could be a process at play. Typically migraine patients are given beta-blockers such as propranolol and metroprolol, anticonvulsants valproate and topiramate, and the calcium channel bocker flunarizine as first line medications. These drugs have been shown in randomized placebo controlled studies to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. A new treatment option could be placed in monoclonal antibodies that target a neuropeptide called CGRP (Calcitonin Gene-related Peptide). CGRP plays is thought to play a key role in headaches. CGRP receptor antagonists have been developed for the treatment of acute migraine and prevention. The medication has proved effected but in some cases treatment had to be abandoned due to acute side effects, including increases of liver enzymes. This has caused CGRP receptor antagonists to have not been approved to date. Newer studies show that the new monoclonal antibody against CGRP, or its receptor, appears to cause less side effects. As […]

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Diseases that causes rashes on the skin can trigger neurological problems

An interesting chapter titled “Acquired neurocutaneous disorders” which appeared last year discusses how diseases that cause rashes and skin problems can trigger neuroglical conditions such as migraine headaches and strokes. The article was published in Handbook of Clinical Neurology by three authors affiliated with the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. The authors say that a variety of neurological diseases have skin related manifestations that precede, coincide with or follow neurologic findings. A few of the diseases described in the article that cause both skin and neurological problems are: Sjögren syndrome. Sjögren syndrome is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissues. The most common skin problem Sjögren syndrome causes is xerosis which causes dull, itchy skin with a fine, white bran-like scale. Neurologic problems caused by Sjögren syndrome include aphasia (inability to talk or understand speech), hemiparesis (paralysis on one side of the body), and chorea (jerky, involuntary movements). Lupus. Lupus can affect multiple organs and can cause a range of neurologic and psychiatric problems, including stroke, migraine headaches, and anxiety. Women are 10 times more likely than men to have lupus and it occurs a lot during the reproductive years. Around 70% […]

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A new marker in blood for migraine?

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 […]

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Finding Relief From Headaches with Meditation

According to research published in the journal Headache, meditation may help migraine headache sufferers. Researchers have known that stress can be a trigger for headaches but there hasn’t been a whole lot of research done to evaluate meditation and it’s benefits. The researchers set out to develop a study to assess the feasibility, safety,and effects of a yoga and meditation intervention known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in adults who suffer from migraines. In the study 19 adults were randomly assigned to 2 groups with 10 of the adults receiving MBSR and 9 receiving standard medical care. The participants attended 8 weekly classes in order to learn MBSR techniques and were told to practice 45 minutes on their own 5 days per week. The participants in the study were evaluated before and after the trial period using measures such as mindfulness, self-efficacy, and disability. The patients maintained headache logs throughout the trial to document how often the headaches occurred, how long they occurred, and the intensity. The researchers found that MBSR study participants had fewer migraines and when migraines occurred they were less intense. In addition, patients with MBSR had headaches that were shorter and less disabling when compared to patients […]

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