New Research From AAN: Your Pain Threshold Directly Links To Cortical Thickness

Brain Cortical Thickess

Brain Cortical Thickness Directly Implicated In Feeling Migraine Pain (1)

A new study presented by Mayo Clinic at the AAN’s (American Academy of Neurology) 67th Annual Meeting was highlighted by the Vice Chair of the Academy. The study clearly demonstrated that there was a direct and positive correlation between the cortical thickness in the brain and the thresholds of pain in migraineurs.

As per the Vice Chair of the AAN, Dr. Rost, who is also the director of acute stroke services at the Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor at the Harvard Medical School, “The object of study was to evaluate the cortical thickness in the areas that are potentially associated with pain processing.” (2)

Incidentally, other independent studies conducted previously have also indicated that migraineurs are hypersensitive to perceiving their pain partially because they are over-vigilant to certain painful stimuli and are usually not able to distract themselves from the pain or pain stimuli successfully.

The study examined a total of 63 subjects out of which 31 were migraineurs and the remaining were healthy individuals and formed the control group. Using the T1 sequencing technique in MRIs they studied the cortical thickness of each region of their brains and calculated the relation to the person’s pain threshold.

The values arrived at showed a negative correlation in cortical thickness and pain threshold among non-migraineurs. However, the control group had lower cortical thickness in the area of their interest. On the contrary, migraineurs not only had a positive correlation but had less tolerance to specific pain stimuli. The most significant difference in the cortical thickness between the migraineurs and the control group was found to be in the left superior temporal, anterior parietal regions of the brain. Thus this finding, along with some previous studies form a new approach where the doctors should not only use the old techniques to manage migraines but also apply new one where migraineurs are able to inhibit their pain to a significant extent by distracting themselves from it.

According to Dr. Rost, “This is in face the region of the brain that participates in attention to painful stimulus and orientation to that stimulus. It opens an interesting segue into the dynamic interaction of neurons during a migraine. There is a way to retrain the brain and that plasticity, biofeedback and other therapies, play a role in that.”

SOURCE

  1. Human Brain by Dream Designs via Stock Photo; Freedigitalphotos.net; Web May 2015; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/human-brain-photo-p214120
  2. A New Way To Think About Migraines: Biosciencetechnlogy.com; Web May 2015; http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/articles/2015/05/new-way-think-about-migraines
  3. Correlations between Brain Cortical Thickness and Cutaneous Pain Thresholds Are Atypical in Adults with Migraine; PLOSOne.com; Web May 2015; http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0099791

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Episode Durations & Number Cutbacks With Diamine Oxidase Pills

swanson-ultra-daosin-30-capsules-300mcg

Diamine Oxidase Supplements May Reduce The Number, Duration, Intensity of Attacks (1)

Researchers have found that taking diamine oxidase supplements significantly reduces the duration of a migraine episode, especially if the migraine has been brought on by food triggers like cheese, caffeine, red wine etc. They have also observed that there exists a mildly indirect relation between to the total number migraine attacks itself in the mid to long run.

Diamine oxidase (DAO) is an amino acid that helps metabolise (break down) histamines released by our bodies. When we eat foods that we are allergic to (because our body cannot handle it’s digestion for any number of reasons specifically lack of appropriate enzymes) then the body perceives the situation as a threat to it’s well being. As a result it begins an immune response. In such as case histamines are released causing the capillary walls to give more access to proteins and white blood cells to engage with the pathogen/trigger/danger. This increase in histamine triggers migraines.

Histamines are also present in certain foods itself that when consumed raise histamine levels of the body and then trigger a migraine. Thus it is obvious that if migraineurs with food or weather triggers are administered an enzyme (such as DAO) that is responsible for the breakdown of histamines, migraine duration and number of attacks would reduce.

According to Joan Izquierdo, MD, from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the International University of Catalonia and the neurology service at Catalonia General Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, who studied men or women between ages 18 to 60 years old with an attack within the previous 6 months, “We diagnosed 137 patients who have a migraine, of who 119 showed deficits of the activity of the enzyme DAO, around 87% of the total patients that we have studied.” (2)

The study did not take into consideration alcoholism, psychiatric disorders, or a diagnosis of any disorder for which a treatment could be used as migraine prevention in the previous 1 month or those who could not consume pork-based products (DAO source).

Normal DAO enzyme activity is considered to be a score of 80. In the study, he found that there was a clear correlation between enzyme score and migraine episodes and intensities. Symptom scores rose progressively as enzyme activity dropped below 80 HDU/mL, with scores 50% to 120% higher in the 30-40 HDU/mL range compared with enzyme activity >80 HDU/mL.

Two groups were made and the control group was administered placebos and the other group was given the DAO supplements. The participant dosage was 2 capsules each after breakfast, lunch and dinner. To understand the pain factor, researchers noted the consumption of triptans by the participants. Those who were on placebos consumed 20% more triptans than those on DAO capsules. The diminished triptan use among patients receiving DAO suggests that the compound may have also reduced the intensity of pain during an attack, the researchers suggest.

Dr. Izquierdo also said, “Diamine oxidase supplementation has shown a significant reduction in crisis duration and a tendency toward a reduction in number of crises,” he said. “The treatment is [safe] because we don’t have any adverse events.” (3)

However, to be sure about the outcome of the research, a larger population needs to be studied cutting across ethnic groups and races. At it’s current stage, it is important thus to educate migraineurs of triggers whether they are of food, hunger, exposure to sun, sleep deprivation or weather and environmental conditions.

SOURCES:

  1. Swanson Ultra Daosin Diamine Oxidase; HealthMonthly.co.uk; Web October 2013; http://www.healthmonthly.co.uk/swanson_ultra_daosin_diamine_oxidase
  2. Migraine Attacks Shortened by Diamine Oxidase Supplements; MedScape.com; Web October 2013; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/811920
  3. 90% of Migraines Could Be Prevented with Enzyme; Universitat Internacional de Catalunya; Web October 2013; http://www.uic.es/en/news?id_noti=3273

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