Migraineurs at Double The Risk Of Developing Facial Paralysis (1)
As per a recent study conducted by a team of scientists working with Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan and National Yang-Ming University, migraineurs are at almost double the risk than non-migraineurs to develop facial paralysis also known as Bell’s Palsy.
The report of the study was published in the 13th January, 2015 issue of the medical journal Neurology of the American Association of Neurologists. Bell’s Palsy occurs due to the dysfunction of a specific cranial nerve that controls facial muscle movements. Some characteristics involve not being able to blink with the eye on the side the facial nerve is affected. Other signs include development of a facial droop on the affected side. Other things such as smiling, frowning, tear-formation, salivation, flaring nostrils and raising eyebrows may all be affected in Bell’s Palsy.
As per lead researcher and author of the study, Shuu-Jiun Wang, MD, “This is a very new association between migraine and Bell’s palsy. Our study also suggests that these two conditions may share a common underlying link.” (2)
It is assumed that anything between 11 to 40 people in every 100,000 people get Bell’s Palsy due to recurring migraines. In the study two groups of adult population were selected. The total persons under study were 136,704. One group had the migraineurs and the other had the non-migraineurs. The observations of the study continued for a period of 3 years. During that time, 671 people in the migraine group and 365 of the non-migraine group were newly diagnosed with Bell’s palsy. People with migraine were twice as likely to develop Bell’s palsy even after researchers accounted for other factors and medical conditions. (3)
According to Dr. Wang, “Infection, inflammation or heart and vascular problems could be shared causes for these diseases. If a common link is identified and confirmed, more research may lead to better treatments for both conditions.”
- Image Credit: Woman Face With Natural Look by Phasinphoto; freedigitalphotos.net; Web January 2015; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/woman-face-with-natural-look-photo-p247674
- Migraine May Double Risk Of Facial Paralysis; ScienceDaily.com; Web December 2014; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141217171315.htm
- Does Migraine Produce Facial Palsy? Neurology; Web January 2015; http://www.neurology.org/content/84/2/108.short
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Studies Show Some Middle-Age Migraineurs Go On To Develop Parkinson’s At Old Age (1)
A recent study conducted at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, and published in the medical journal Neurology (of the American Academy of Neurology) , showed that there was a link between migraines and the development of Parkinson’s Disease.
Though severe migraine attacks are considered as disabling as serious illnesses such as dementia, active psychosis or even quadriplegia, it is still the most under-funded and less researched of all neurological diseases in the world.
As per lead author of the study, Ann I. Scher, M.D migraines are the most common brain disorder among both the sexes linked to both cerebrovascular and heart disease. However, the study exhibited that the link between middle-age migraining and Parkinson’s is stronger for women who suffer migraines with aura. She says, “This new possible association is one more reason research is needed to understand, prevent and treat the condition.” (2)
The research involved 5620 persons from Iceland for a period of 25 years. Their ages were between 33 and 65 years at the time when the study began. Of the 5620 persons studied, 1028 had headaches without migraine symptoms, 238 had migraines without aura and 430 experienced migraines with aura. Here are the result highlights: (3)
- Migraineurs with aura twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s later than Migraineurs without aura
- 1% of the persons without headaches developed Parkinson’s later when compared to 2.4% who developed it and had migraines with aura.
- People with migraine with aura were also around 3.6 times more likely to report at least four of the six symptoms of Parkinson’s, and people with migraine without aura were 2.3 times more likely.
- Overall rates in absolute terms were as:
- In people with migraine with aura: 19.7%
- In people with migraine without aura: 12.6%
- In people with no headaches at all: 7.5%.
According to Scher, “A dysfunction in the brain messenger dopamine is common to both Parkinson’s and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), and has been hypothesized as a possible cause of migraine for many years. Symptoms of migraine such as excessive yawning, nausea and vomiting are thought to be related to dopamine receptor stimulation. More research should focus on exploring this possible link through genetic studies”
- Image Credit: Frustrated Caucasian Woman by Stock Images; Freedigitalphotos.net; Web October 2014; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Emotions_g96-Frustrated_Caucasian_Woman_p81435.html
- Link Found Between Migraine And Parkinson’s; Medical News Today; Web October 2014; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282678.php
- Migraines In Middle Age, Parkinson’s Risk Later? WebMD.com; Web October 2014; http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/news/20140917/are-migraines-in-middle-age-tied-to-raised-parkinsons-risk-later
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New guidelines or strategy if you will, have been chalked out and released by scientists at the American Academy of Neurology in conjunction with the American Headache Society on the approach migraineurs should take to reduce the frequency of their attacks. These guidelines have been released just this week and basically are a little different from the previous guidelines in terms that they reduce the ranking of certain migraine drugs (such as Verapamil and Gabapentin) which were highly recommended in the last guidelines due to evidence gathered against them. In addition, the new guidelines are based on evidence-based research on a larger population than were done for the last set of guidelines covering various demographics – gender, races etc. (1)
Want Fewer Migraine Attacks? Follow a Preventative Regimen Everyday (2)
As per the neurologists, almost 38% of all migraineurs should follow a preventative strategy to reduce the number of their migraine episodes. But only a third of that percentage followed a daily preventative regimen with the rest of them only resorting to band aid approaches and tackling the pain once they are in the throes of a migraine attack or are expecting one within a few hours. The approaches they often took were such as were not proven effective in scientific testing before.
According to Mark Green, MD, director of the Headache Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York, “What the guidelines do is pinpoint first-line treatments based on evidence and effectiveness. If these guidelines are used widely, we will be able to up the odds of reducing headaches by 50 percent. Moreover, the stakes may be high if we undertreat migraines. Evidence is building to suggest that if we allow migraines to progress, the frequency of attacks may increase, and they may also become harder to treat” (3)
Here’s a quick look at what the evidence-based preventative guidelines suggests to migraineurs:
- First line prescription drugs must be taken on a daily basis to bring down the number and intensity of the attacks.
- Effective For Prevention: Anti-seizure medications Divalproex sodium, Sodium valproate, Topiramate, Metoprolol, Propranol, Tumolol.
- Effective Herbal Preparations: Butterbur / Petasites.
- Probably Effective: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS such as Fenoprofen, Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen, Naproxen, Naproxen Sodium, Subcutaneous histamine, Complementary treatments, Magnesium, Riboflavin, Feverfew.
- Found Not Effective: Anti-seizure drug lamotrigine was not effective in preventing migraine.
- New Guidelines Assert That Daily Preventive Therapies Significantly Reduce Migraines; Newswise; April 2012; http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/588495/?sc=rsmn&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NewswiseMednews+%28Newswise%3A+MedNews%29
- Image by Ambro; Freedigitalphotos.net; April 2012; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1499
- New Guidelines: Treatments Can Help Prevent Migraine; American Academy of Neurology (AAN); April 2012; http://www.aan.com/press/index.cfm?fuseaction=release.view&release=1062
Video of the 2012 AAN Conference may be accessed at:
- 2012 AAN Press Conference: New Guidelines on Preventing Migraine Headache; YouTube.com; April 2012; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoKPwq9JcKE&feature=g-upl&context=G2423319AUAAAAAAAAAA
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