New Biomarker Predicts The Severity Of A Migraine Episode

Biomarkers Migraine

Adiponectin Levels In Blood Signal Pain Severity In Migraines During An Attack (1)

Adiponectin is a protein hormone that is secreted by fat or adipose tissues into our bloodstream. It is known to modulate many metabolic processes (such as glucose flux, insulin sensitivity, fatty acid oxidation, weight loss, regulation of energy metabolism etc) as well as immunity and inflammation attributes. Adiponectin is also known to modulate several of the pain pathways implicated in migraines.

A recent small-scale study on migraineurs who had anything between 2-12 episodes a month, was conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has now revealed that measuring the levels of adiponectin or ADP before a migraine treatment can tell which patients found relief from the debilitating pain. The study examined 20 women for a three-year period (2009-2012)

According to the associate professor of neurology and director of headache research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, B. Lee Peterlin, D.O, “This study takes the first steps in identifying a potential biomarker for migraine that predicts treatment response and, we hope, can one day be used as a target for developing new and better migraine therapies.” (2)

The process included a taking blood samples of women (to check ADP levels) before giving them either a sumatriptan/naproxen or a placebo dosage and then re-drawing blood from them at half an hour, an hour and after two hours of the drug/placebo administration.

Levels of both types of ADP, viz Low Molecular Weight (or LMW, having anti-inflammatory properties) and High Molecular Weight (or HMW, having pro-inflammatory properties) were assessed.

The researchers found that higher LMW counts caused a decrease in pain for the migraineurs and a higher ratio of HMW: LMW caused pain aggravation. It was also noticed that patients who received a steady treatment for the migraine irrespective of the fact that they were being dosed with a drug or a placebo showed an overall decrease in the total ADP over a period of time.

In Peterlin’s view, should ADP (LMW and HMW) be proved to be a biomarker for migraine pain with larger scale studies, it would be very helpful for physicians to know which migraineur would benefit from which type of treatment and help them try out alternative drugs sooner than later.

The study was supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline and from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


  1. Image Credits: FreeDigitalPhotos.Net; Victor Habbick; Web June 2013;
  2. Blood Levels of Fat Cell Hormone May Predict Severity of Migraines; ScienceDaily News; Web June 2013;

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Brain Volume In Older Groups With Migraine & Depression


Brain Tissue Volume Shrinkage in Older Group With Migraine And Depression (1)

Current studies conducted at the National Institute on Aging and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, in Bethesda, Md show that older population who suffer from migraines and depression have smaller brain size in terms of brain volume compared to those in the same age group who have either one or neither of these conditions.

The study which was published in Neurology® examined 4296 persons around the approximate age of 51 years of age, over a 24 year period. This population was reassessed for another four years after a gap of 11 years by which time their average age was 74 years old.

On assessment it was found that for the migraineurs and the depressed there was an average 19.2 millilitres smaller in terms of total brain tissue volume when compared to those who had only one of these conditions or none of them.

As per the lead author of the study, Larus S. Gudmundsson, PhD, “It is important to note that participants in this study were imaged using MRI once, so we cannot say that migraine and depression resulted in brain atrophy. In future studies, we need to examine at what age participants develop both migraine and depression and measure their brain volume changes over time in order to determine what comes first.”


  1. Image by ddpavumba;; Web May 2013;
  2. Migraine and Depression Together May Be Linked With Brain Size; Science Daily News; Web May 2013;

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My new book, The Complete Fitness Guide For Women

The Complete Fitness Guide For Women Promo

Title: The Complete Fitness Guide for Women
Publisher: Hay House
Distributor: Penguin
Author: Singh Mamta
Edition: Paperback
ISBN: 9381431221
EAN: 9789381431221
No. of Pages: 236
Deliverable Countries: This product ships to India, Sri Lanka.


‘An elegant presentation of the fundamentals if fitness. It lays the foundation for the understanding of the basic principles and is a perfect stepping stone for those who want to raise their fitness quotient.’


The Complete Fitness Guide For Women is laced with:

  • more than 20 workout programs using a treadmill, stationary bike and a Step
  • 40 flexibility exercises via Pilates and Yoga
  • 19 weight-bearing exercises
  • Extensive notes on Injury prevention and management
  • Do’s in Fitness Nutrition, and
  • Best Practices in Fitness

The Complete Fitness Guide For Women is an essential fitness guide for any woman who wants an active life and a healthy body. Physical fitness, as it is understood today, is not merely about exercising or healthy eating; it must involve both aspects. But there is still more to a fit and healthy life than just a focus on food and exercise. The Complete Fitness Guide for Women lays the foundation for long-term health.

In this volume, I provide you with exercise plans that specifically target cardiovascular training, strength and weight training, and stretching. Whether you are a beginner or someone who is already working out, this book will have a program suitable for you; these exercise programs can be done at home or at the gym.

The Complete Fitness Guide for Women empowers you by helping you understand and respect your body and its unique requirements, so you can develop a body that is not just slim, but healthy and strong as well.

The Power Is Truly Within You!


The Complete Fitness Guide For Women is also available through:





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Bridging the Gaping Divide With Pain Self-management Tools

Most migraineurs are aware that the medical fraternity has yet not arrived at the cause of migraines. We know of triggers and the way the pain unfolds or what happens inside of the brain hours before, during and after a migraine episode but are still clueless about what causes migraines and why or how the pain stops.

Though a good number of migraineurs do consult a ‘migraine specialist’ or a ‘headache specialist’ after enduring the onslaught of merciless pain years after they first experienced their episodes, they often take back selective important tips back from the doctor’s office. A relatively new program called developed by Inflexxion now offers many tools to the migraineur that can help them manage their symptoms better when they are out of the doctor’s office and back into their lives.

Better Pain Management With Online Self-help Application (1)

This free and non-promotional program is available online and is believed to be especially beneficial to those who are chronic migraineurs. The tool was studied by researchers at Inflexxion using 185 participants to test the clinical efficacy of this web-based program. The program uses various symptom-based management techniques and offers a wide range of tips on relaxation and on getting support groups, doing daily activities to do etc.

It was observed that those who used the program reported better stress and pain management skills, were more confident in their ability to handle an episode. The study as well as it’s findings were reported in the medical journal The Journal of Head and Face Pain, titled ‘A Randomized Trial of a Web-based Intervention to Improve Migraine Self-Management and Coping’. (2)

According to the lead author and researcher, Jonas Bromberg, PsyD, Director of Health Communications and Senior Research Scientist at Inflexxion, “Self-management training should help patients learn how to identify, avoid, and manage headache triggers, and learn to perform other essential prevention, management, and coping behaviors. The integration of behavioral support in the medical care of migraine is essential in helping people with migraine to manage their condition more effectively, safely manage their prescription pain medications, avoid disease progression, and reduce the high cost of migraine and migraine-related disability to individuals and society.” (3)

This free online program is particularly beneficial to those who live and work in areas which do not have easy or ready access to neurologists, mental health support services or behavioural experts.


  1. Image by Jeroen van Oostrom;; February 2012;
  2. Technical report of the study may be accessed at: A Randomized Trial of a Web-Based Intervention to Improve Migraine Self-Management and Coping; Wiley Online Library; February 2012;
  3. Migraine Self-Management Improved And Migraine-Related Psychological Distress Reduced By; Medi Lexicon News; February 2012;

The web-based program may be accessed through this link:

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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;

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.


1. Precision-tinted lenses offer real migraine relief, reveals new study; SAGE Publications (2011, May 26) via ScienceDaily; Retrieved January 16, 2012;

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

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.


Implant To Switch Off Migraine; Daily Mail (U.K), January 4, 2012;

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