Vitamin D deficiency and increased chronic headaches

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland have shown that a vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of chronic headache. The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, analysed the serum vitamin D levels and occurrence of headache in approximately 2,600 men between 42 and 60 years old in 1984-1989. In 68% of these men, the serum vitamin D level was below 50 nmol/l, which is generally considered to be a vitamin D deficiency. In the study chronic headache occurring at least once a week occurred in 250 men, and men reporting chronic headache had lower serum vitamin D levels than others. The study population was divided into four groups based on their serum vitamin D levels. The group with the lowest vitamin D levels had over a twofold increased risk of chronic headache in comparison to the group … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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, … Read more

Rheumatologic Diseases Can Initially Present Like Neurological Disorders

Research appearing in the Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports have shown that lupus and other rheumatologic disorders can initially present as neurological disorders such as headaches and seizures which can lead to a few months of a delay in proper diagnosis. Rheumatologic diseases include autoimmune and inflammatory disorders of the joints and soft tissues, such as systemic vasculitis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylosis. More than half of lupus patients have headaches and a third have migraines. Around 1.5% of lupus patients have a headache that is persistent, severe, and intractable and does not respond to narcotic medications. Up to 20% of lupus patients have seizures and 1/3 of lupus patients have cognitive dysfunction. Up to 20% of lupus patients experience mood disorders such as psychosis. Patients who have systemic vasculitis can have headaches, stroke like syndromes, seizures, and optic neuropathies. Around 1/3 of … Read more