New Study Pegs Hope For Migraineurs With Precision-Tinted Lenses: Science Daily

Precision-tinted lenses offer real migraine relief, reveals new study.

This article has been drawn verbatim from Science Daily News

Source: Beautiful Tima by Hamed Saber; Sunglasses – Wikipedia; Retrieved 16th January, 2012; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:B%26W_girl_portrait_with_sunglasses.jpg

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2011) — Precision tinted lenses have been used widely to reduce visual perceptual distortions in poor readers, and are increasingly used for migraine sufferers, but until now the science behind these effects has been unclear. Now research published in the journal Cephalalgia, uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for the first time to suggest a neurological basis for these visual remedies.

The new research shows how coloured glasses tuned to each migraine sufferer work by normalizing activity in the brain. The researchers saw specific abnormal brain activity (known as hyperactivation) when migraine sufferers saw intense patterns. The tinted lenses considerably reduced the effect.

Jie Huang along with colleagues from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, US, and the University of Essex, UK, homed in on specific visual stimuli known to trigger migraines. These patterns, high contrast stripes or ‘gratings,’ can give the illusion of shape, colour and movement. These not only trigger migraines but also may cause seizures in those with photosensitive epilepsy.

Before the brain imaging took place, participants were tested and prescribed precision ophthalmic tints (POTs) with an Intuitive Colorimeter. Previous studies have suggested that some 42% of migraine with aura sufferers saw their migraine frequency halved on days when they wore POTs. The researchers used the colorimeter to illuminate text with coloured light, manipulating hue and saturation at constant luminance. For each test participant this gave an optimal hue and saturation (chromaticity) of light that led to the greatest comfort, reducing perceptual distortion. The test subjects then viewed stressful striped patterns illuminated with their optimal coloured light settings to screen for efficacy. The researchers used these readings to generate both effective POTs for each migraine sufferer and also two other pairs of grey and coloured lenses with slightly different properties as controls. 11 patients who frequently suffered from migraine enrolled in the fMRI study. Each patient was paired with a migraine-free control, who was also tested with that patient’s three sets of lenses.

Once in the fMRI machine, the researchers exposed subjects to a range of striped patterns — these had varying likelihood of triggering distortion and discomfort. This study aimed to investigate the effect of the POTs on the cortical activation induced by the stressful pattern in each of the visual areas of the brain. Although patients reported some relief using all of the lenses (by around 40%), the POT lenses had a significant effect when viewing the stressful stripes (70% discomfort reduction). Both control and migraine patients responded similarly to the non-stressful stripe patterns, and in these cases all three lenses made no difference to the result. The POTs specifically suppressed cortical activation for migraine sufferers in visual area V2 of the occipital cortex of the brain, and this POT-suppressed cortical activation was also extended to the other extra-striate visual areas V3, V3A, and V4

“The reduced cortical activation in V2 by the POTs may have been responsible for the POT-induced suppression of the illusions and distortions, considering that V2 neurons but not V1 neurons in macaque monkeys respond to illusory contour stimuli,” Huang suggests.

The cause of these responses to specific visual stimuli is likely to differ from the photophobia (light sensitivity) migraine sufferers often report during an attack. Going forward, the authors suggest that the specific characteristic of the cortical activation in the extra-striate visual areas they recorded could provide a potential biomarker for identifying those migraine patients suffering cortical hyperactivation. This biomarker could prove useful not only for further evaluation of POTs but also for studying the effectiveness of drugs to prevent migraine.

SOURCES:

1. Precision-tinted lenses offer real migraine relief, reveals new study; SAGE Publications (2011, May 26) via ScienceDaily; Retrieved January 16, 2012; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110526064629.htm

2. Jie Huang, Xiaopeng Zong, Arnold Wilkins, Brian Jenkins, Andrea Bozoki, and Yue Cao. fMRI evidence that precision ophthalmic tints reduce cortical hyperactivation in migraine. Cephalalgia, 0333102411409076, May 26, 2011 DOI:10.1177/0333102411409076

Acupuncture: A ‘Yes’ or A ‘No’ For Migraineurs?

This post has been drawn from Medicine News Today for the benefit of migraineurs:

In order to find out the effect of acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture in treating migraines, a team of investigators carried out a randomized controlled human trial. 480 individuals at 9 hospitals in China who experienced migraines for over one year, with two or three migraines in the 3 months prior to the investigation, were enrolled to participate in the study.


The researchers randomly assigned the volunteers to four groups. Those in one group received sham acupuncture, while participants in the other three groups received different types of acupuncture. Their ages ranged from 18 to 65 years.

In the United States and England, migraines affect approximately 16% to 18% of women and 6% to 8% of men. Evidence on how effective acupuncture is at treating migraines is mixed, as some studies suggest it is the placebo effect, instead of a therapeutic effect that relieves symptoms. Acupuncture distinguishes between real acupuncture points and non-acupuncture (sham) points.

Dr. Fan-rong Liang, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, China, explains: “We found that the outcomes following acupuncture were significantly better than with sham acupuncture during weeks 13-16, but the effect was clinically minor.”
After 16 weeks, approximately half to three-quarters of participants were better after sham acupuncture and proper acupuncture. The researchers said: “Acupuncture has a large effect on treating migraines, but the specific therapeutic effect may be minor.”
In an associated commentary, Dr. Albrecht Molsberger, Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany and the University of North Carolina, explains that according to previous evidence, acupuncture helps treat severe migraine attacks.

Molsberger explains: “On the basis of the existing evidence, acupuncture should be an option for the first-line treatment of migraine to supplement other non-pharmacologic treatment options.”
In a second randomized controlled trial, investigators in the Netherlands enrolled 490 patients from 64 general practices, 233 of them attended consultations to assess treatment of their migraines, as well as 257 in the control group. The researchers set out to examine whether a proactive approach by primary care physicians to patients with suboptimal migraine treatment would result in improvements.

In the Netherlands, only 8% to 12% of all patients with migraines used prophylaxis, while a considerable amount of individuals used too much medication for migraine attacks.

Even though more individuals took prescription medication to prevent migraines as a result of the approach, the researchers observed no clinically relevant effect after six months.

Dr. Antonia Smelt, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands, with co-authors, explained: “We found no clinically relevant effect of a proactive approach to migraine in primary care for patients who were using two or more doses of triptan per month.”

The researchers conclude:
“It is possible that the intervention resulted in better treatment for patients not using prophylactic medication at baseline who had two or more attacks of migraine per month. Future interventions in primary care should target these patients.”

 

SOURCE:

Migraine – The Enigma Of Trial Results; Grace Rattue; Medical News Today; January 2012; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/240139.php

Sub-epidermal Electric Stimulator Implant To Switch Off Migraine: Daily Mail (U.K)

Severe migraines are now being treated by an implanted electrical stimulator. Placed just under the skin, the device turns off the painful symptoms by sending out electrical signals that interfere with the pain messages travelling along the nerve to the brain.

Three patients in Britain have been successfully implanted with the technology, and doctors are enthusiastic about what could be a major new form of treatment for those people whose migraine has failed to respond to other therapies.

‘It is not something you will give to people who have failed to control pain with a few paracetamol, but there are patients who will benefit enormously,’ says Professor Peter Goadsby of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London. ‘It is a nondestructive, safe way to move ahead with a group of people who are otherwise completely lost. The results have been very good so far.’ Whether or not patients are eligible for the treatment is down to clinicians. Diagnosis is usually made on the severity of symptoms and how disabling they are rather than how long the individual has suffered.

Migraine affects around 12 per cent of the population, with women more likely to suffer than men.

In classical migraine, or migraine with aura, the headache is preceded by visual disturbances which may include flashing lights and blind spots. The aura usually disappears after 20 to 30 minutes and is followed by a piercing, often one-sided headache, and sensitivity to light.

Patients may experience a migraine every day, several times a week or once or twice a year. Migraines may be so severe they interfere with a patient’s ability to work and carry on normal activities. The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but it is likely that a combination of factors contribute, including nerves, blood vessels, brain chemicals and environmental triggers.

One theory is the nervous system reacts to a trigger with electrical activity that spreads across the brain, leading to the release of chemicals that make blood vessels swell and become leaky. Scientists believe this process may cause the pain and other symptoms.

Although there is a range of treatments for migraine there is no cure, and for some people the symptoms are so severe they are not helped by available treatments. The new treatment being pioneered in Britain and America, the Occipital Nerve Stimulator, is aimed at that group of patients with intransigent migraine.

The device is designed to stimulate the occipital nerve at the back of the head, which connects with all the pain-sensitive areas of the skull. It is not a brain implant, but sits just under the skin. As a result, it’s simple to implant, and in some cases the device can be put in place with a local anaesthetic. Usually, a battery lies under the skin by the collarbone, and a small wire runs up the neck and into the scalp. Blocking nerves with drugs stops pain signals going to the brain and it’s thought that the stimulator has the same kind of effect by mixing up the signals going to the brain.

‘When information comes into the body it goes into the nerve cells, where it is processed. Those nerve cells project all the senses and feeling to a small part of the brain, the thalamus. ‘It looks as though by stimulating the input, you can affect the way it thinks about pain. It interferes with the signals and turns the pain processing off,’ says Professor Goadsby. ‘It is not a cure – it is a permanent treatment, and seems to work indefinitely.’

More cases of migraine have been treated by doctors in America using the same technique and a review of progress so far is expected to be published early in the new year.

The same kind of nerve stimulation technology is also being used for different kinds of pain, including other forms of severe headaches. One 40-year-old American man who was having up to five cluster headaches a day had far fewer after receiving an implant. A woman who had face and head pain has also been successfully treated. A tiny electrode attached to a needle was tunnelled under the skin by her left eye until it came into contact with the nerve responsible for her pain.

Powered by a battery implanted near her collarbone, the device now continually stimulates the nerve with electrical pulses. The pain stopped the moment the active electrode touched the nerve.

Another patient has also been given nerve stimulation for severe shoulder pain. After it was switched on, he had an 80 per cent drop in pain levels. Just when it will become more widely available in the UK is not known. Estimates on full costs for packages of treatment carried out in America range up to £15,000.

SOURCE:

Implant To Switch Off Migraine; Daily Mail (U.K), January 4, 2012; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-203244/Implant-switch-migraine.html

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MENTOR YOUR MIND, Tested Mantras For The Busy Woman

My second book, Mentor Your Mind (Paperback and Kindle, ebook) is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Tesco, WHSmith, Waterstones, Blackwell and Powells.

Mentor Your Mind focuses on the cause–effect relation of mental health, through a mix of what is easily fathomable and achievable by the busy urban woman, without having to set  precious time aside marked for keeping mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy. These include:

  •  Everyday practice tips and activities
  • Daily activities built into urban living schedules
  • Techniques to easy meditation, and
  • Guidelines on practical community service

Mentor Your Mind addresses 6 mental maladies, 6 emotional afflictions and 7 spiritual self-service techniques that urban women are commonly confronted with, through:

  • 3 self-evaluation questionnaires
  • 13 easy-to-follow step-wise action flowcharts and diagrams
  • 20 mentoring schedules, and
  • 16 explanatory tables

Mentor Your Mind also sells in India through Crossword bookstores, Landmark bookstores, Oxford bookstores, Reliance retail stores and through Flipkart and Infibeam.

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/73b8ly5

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/832n8mu

Flipkart: http://tinyurl.com/7rx78hm

Infibeam: http://tinyurl.com/7mp2h3c

Product Information:

Category: health;Body, Mind, Spirit
Paperback: 174 pages
Publisher: Sterling Publishers (July 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8120759737
ISBN-13: 978-8120759732
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

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Exercise just as good as drugs at preventing migraines, Swedish study suggests: Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Oct. 10, 2011) — Although exercise is often prescribed as a treatment for migraine, there has not previously been sufficient scientific evidence that it really works. However, research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has now shown that exercise is just as good as drugs at preventing migraines.

Doctors use a variety of different methods to prevent migraines these days: on the pharmaceutical side a drug based on the substance topiramate has proved effective, while non-medical treatments with well-documented effects include relaxation exercises.

No previous evidence 

Exercise is also frequently recommended as a treatment, though there has not been sufficient scientific evidence that it really has any effect on migraine patients.

In a randomized controlled study researchers from the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy have now analysed how well exercise works as a preventative treatment for migraines relative to relaxation exercises and topiramate.

40 minutes of exercise
Published in the journal Cephalalgia, the study involved 91 migraine patients, a third of whom were asked to exercise for 40 minutes three times a week under the supervision of a physiotherapist, with another third doing relaxation exercises, and the final third given topiramate. The study lasted for a total of three months, during which the patients’ migraine status, quality of life, aerobic capacity and level of phyical activity were evaluated before, during and after their treatment. Follow-ups were then carried out after three and six months.

Exercise just as effective
The results show that the number of migraines fell in all three groups. Interestingly, there was no difference in the preventative effect between the three treatments.
“Our conclusion is that exercise can act as an alternative to relaxations and topiramate when it comes to preventing migraines, and is particularly appropriate for patients who are unwilling or unable to take preventative medicines,” says Emma Varkey, the physiotherapist and doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy who carried out the study.

Journal Reference:
E. Varkey, A. Cider, J. Carlsson, M. Linde. Exercise as migraine prophylaxis: A randomized study using relaxation and topiramate as controls. Cephalalgia, 2011; DOI: 10.1177/0333102411419681