A Protein that may Promote Headaches?

A University of Iowa study may provide an explanation for why some people get migraine headaches while others do not. The researchers found that too much of a small protein called RAMP1 appears to “turn up the volume” of a nerve cell receptor’s response to a neuropeptide thought to cause migraines.The neuropeptide is called CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) and studies have shown that it plays a key role in migraine headaches. In particular, CGRP levels are elevated in the blood during migraine, and drugs that either reduce the levels of CGRP or block its action significantly reduce the pain of migraine headaches. Also, if CGRP is injected into people who are susceptible to migraines, they get a severe headache or a full migraine.”We have shown that this RAMP protein is a key regulator for the action of CGRP,” said Andrew … Read more

Athletes Post-Concussion Migraine May Signal Neurocognitive Impairment

PITTSBURGH, June 21 — High school and college athletes with migraine headache characteristics after a concussion may have increased neurocognitive impairment, suggests a University of Pittsburgh Sports Medicine Concussion Program study published in the May issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery. The study results speak to the need for extreme caution in clinical evaluation and return-to-play decisions, say the authors.In the study, athletes who had characteristics of post-traumatic migraine (PTM) headache following a concussion also showed increased neurocognitive function impairment and related symptoms compared to concussed athletes with no post-injury headache or non-migraine headache.”The findings of our study strongly support the need for clinicians to exercise increased vigilance in making decisions about managing a concussed athlete with PTM and extreme caution as to when that athlete should be allowed to return to play,” said the study’s lead author, Jason Mihalik, … Read more

Occipital Nerve Stimulation

Patients suffering from chronic migraine headaches who have found no relief through the use of medication may find hope through occipital nerve stimulation (ONS). At the 58th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, April 1-8, 2006, in San Diego, research physicians from Mayo Clinic in Arizona presented findings of their clinical studies that show ONS as a safe, effective treatment for chronic headache. ONS treatment involves implanting a neurostimulator under the skin at the base of the head. The neurostimulator delivers electrical impulses near the occipital nerves via insulated lead wires tunneled under the skin. More than 32 million Americans, 70 percent of whom are women, suffer from migraines and lose about 157 million workdays each year, according to the National Headache Foundation. Many sufferers progress to a chronic condition, experiencing headaches more than 15 days per month. … Read more

Rats Help Migraine Patients

When Michael Oshinsky, Ph.D., gives his rats a headache, he has good reason. The animals are helping Dr. Oshinsky, assistant professor of neurology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, study how migraine treatments work. In recent experiments, the animals provided evidence showing that DHE, a standard drug currently used to treat acute migraine pain can also work against the onset of a phenomenon called “central sensitization,” or “allodynia,” which involves, as most migraine sufferers know, a heightened sensitivity to touch.For many migraine sufferers, it hurts to touch their face, brush their hair, even take a shower during a migraine attack. Triptans, another class of drugs commonly used to treat migraines, can also treat acute headache pain, but has a narrow window in which it works against allodynia. Dr. Oshinsky looked at DHE’s effectiveness on halting or … Read more

Zapping the Pain out of Migraine

An electronic device designed to “zap” away migraine pain before it starts may be the next form of relief for millions of people who suffer from the debilitating disease. Results of a study found that the experimental device appears to be effective in eliminating the headache when administered during the onset of the migraine. The device, called TMS, interrupts the aura phase of the migraine, often described as electrical storms in the brain, before they lead to headaches. Auras are neural disturbances that signal the onset of migraine headaches. People who suffer from migraine headaches often describe “seeing” showers of shooting stars, zigzagging lines and flashing lights, and experiencing loss of vision, weakness, tingling or confusion. What typically follows these initial symptoms is intense throbbing head pain, nausea and vomiting. Yousef Mohammad, a neurologist at OSU Medical Center who presented … Read more