Middle Age Migraineurs At Risk Of Parkinson’s Later

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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”

SOURCES

  1. 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
  2. Link Found Between Migraine And Parkinson’s; Medical News Today; Web October 2014; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282678.php
  3. 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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Stealthy BPA In Your Water Bottle Could Be Giving You That Migraine

Migraine Water Bootle Plastic

Bisphenol A in plastic water bottles and containers found to trigger migraines (1)

Bisphenol A or BPA is a carbon-based synthetic compound and a type of bisphenol that is used in the making of certain plastics and epoxy resins. BPA is known to exhibit hormone mimicking properties when mammals are exposed to it in higher doses but even at lower but sustained exposure to BPA is suspected of causing damage to fetus, infants and the young. Countries of the European Union and Canada have banned the use of BPA in the manufacture of feeding bottles. However, it does go into making plastic containers used for storage in the kitchen and the omnipresent plastic water bottles, plastic microwave trays etc we use every day. It is also found in other products like shower curtains, till receipts etc.

Recently conducted research by University of Kansas on mice showed that such mice as were exposed to BPA every three days exhibited signs of migraines within half an hour of the exposure – becoming almost inactive, keeping away from light or sound, being startled easily and showed signs signalling tenderness in the head region. (2)

Lydia Vermeer, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Berman’s lab said, “We hypothesized that BPA exposure would activate estrogen receptors, exacerbating migraine symptoms.” The hypothesis that BPA mimics the hormone estrogen was confirmed when the researchers found an influx of estrogen levels signalled by the rat brain in the exposed rats.  As per The Mayo Clinic hormone estrogen (as well as progesterone) plays key roles in regulating the menstrual cycle and pregnancy which may affect headache-related chemicals in the brain.

According to the report of the study that was published in the journal Toxicological Sciences, “These results imply that BPA has the ability to amplify symptoms that are used to diagnose the disorder in human patients, suggesting that exposure to BPA would increase both the incidence and prevalence of this disorder.” (3)

As per Dr. Nancy Berman, “This is an entirely new direction for the field of migraine.” (4) The scientists now believe that a change in diet might provide some relief for migraine sufferers, who make more than 68 million visits to physicians’ offices or emergency rooms in the United States each year.

Bisphenol A (BPA) has already been linked to a range of health problems including obesity, infertility and heart attacks.

SOURCES

  1. Image Credit: Beautiful Woman Drinking Water In Nature; Adamr; freedigitalphotos.net; Web December 2013; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/beautiful-woman-dring-water-in-nature-photo-p219061
  2. Controversial Bisphenol A in water bottles could be causing migraines; News.com.au; Web December 2013; http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/controversial-bisphenol-a-in-water-bottles-could-be-causing-migraines/story-fneuz9ev-1226775854588
  3. Chemical commonly found in plastics makes migraines worse, researchers show; Kansas University Medical Center – News; Web December 2013; http://www.kumc.edu/news-listing-page/researchers-show-connection-between-bisphenol-a-and-migraine.html
  4. To watch the interview with lead researcher Dr. Nancy Berman (PhD: M.I.T., Cambridge, Massachusetts),- Prof. Anatomy and Cell Biology here’s the link on Fox News: http://video.foxnews.com/v/2888723547001/study-finds-possible-link-between-bpa-and-migraine-headaches/?playlist_id=930909749001

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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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CGRP Blockers & SRAs – The New Faces In Research For Migraine Management

CGRP stands for Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide. It is a calcitonin group compound made up of polymers of amino acid monomers. CGRP is manufactured in the human body in the nerve cells (neurons) of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

Research – New Migraine drugs In The Pipeline (1)

So what is the function of CGRP? Of the many functions, CGRP is a powerful vasodilator and it contributes significantly in the transmission of pain message through the body. It is also believed to play a critical role in cardiovascular homeostasis as well as in processing noxious stimuli that has the potential to damage the tissues of the heart.

The development of drugs which are essentially CGRP receptor antagonist is in the pipeline aimed at helping migraineurs the world over cull the pain of their migraine episodes. How does the CGRP receptor antagonist do this? It has been observed that during the onset of a migraine attack, CGRP binds to CGRP receptors and activates these receptors which then transmit pain signals. CGRP receptor antagonist prevents the CGRP from binding on to CGRP receptors thus circumventing the transmission of pain signals causing migraine pain.

Telecagepant was such a CGRP receptor antagonist drug developed by Merck & Co. and was undergoing Phase III clinical trials but the trials were abandoned after identification of two patients with significant elevations in serum transaminases indicating liver damage. However, similar drugs without such side-effects are now being designed. CGRP receptor blockers also significantly reduce nausea and are more desirable in total benefit than triptans. As per Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, director of UCSF’s Headache Center, “So this is a way for it to be effective and adds a safety bonus to the patients and it seems to be better tolerated.” (2)

There is another approach to drug design and development aimed at reducing the misery of migraineurs and it comes from the side of serotonin activity. In this class, one investigational drug of note is Lasmiditan thought of by Eli Lilly & Co and being designed to treat acute migraine by CoLucid Pharmaceuticals. These drugs are technically serotonin receptor agonists and selectively bind to the 5-HT1F receptor subtype. Unlike triptans these drugs do not constrict the heart vessels and have lesser side-effects. Trials have shown that administration of this drug reduced migraines to almost nothing within a two-hour period in almost 60% of the patients also tackling nausea and photophobia beautifully. The drug is expected to be ready by 2014. As per Dr. Goadsby, “Lasmiditan is now that finished its phase two studies and clearly works. It does not have the same sort of liver effects as its predecessors and will move on into phase three. That is again for acute migraine treatment. So it is a safe and totally different action than what we currently have.” (2)

 

SOURCES:

  1. Image by Ponsulak; Freedigitalphotos.net; March 2012; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1983
  2. Cutting Edge Treatments For Migraines: More Than Just A Headache; Ivanhoe.com; March 2012; http://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_channelstory.cfm?storyid=29106&channelid=CHAN-100018

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Co-morbidity of Migraine and Depression In Women

Most of us are aware that migraineurs have some comorbid conditions like generalised anxiety disorder, cardiovascular conditions and gastrointestinal disturbances. Research now has it that migraineurs especially women who have either experienced repeated episodes of migraines in the past or continue to have migraines are more likely to experience depression.

Women Migraineurs Very Likely To Develop Depression (1)

In fact another report goes on to suggest that the most ‘important’ comorbidity of migraines is depression with as many as 40% of all migraineurs also suffer from forms of depression. (2)

New research released on 23rd of February which was presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting showed that migraining women specifically had a higher risk of almost double for developing depression than those women who did not experience migraines.

This study had examined the medical history of 36,154 women participants. The whole population studied were classified into 4 groups:

  • Women with migraines and experiencing aura
  • Women with migraines who do not experience aura
  • Women who had suffered migraines in the past but have not in the last one year
  • Women who never had migraines

It was observed after collection and analysis of data that as many as 18% of the studied population had either current or past history of migraines and that of this group of 6, 456 women almost half of them developed depression 14 years on.

Another observation of note was that the results in terms of the probability of developing depression for women migraineurs remains almost same regardless of the type of migraines they experience (i.e. with or without visual aura)

The results did not vary substantially, regardless of the type of migraine. Those with aura, which is described as visual disturbances that appear as flashing lights, zigzag lines or a temporary loss of vision, had the same risks as other types of migraine.

According to Tobias Kurth, MD, ScD, with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Inserm in France and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, “This is one of the first large studies to examine the association between migraine and the development of depression over time. We hope our findings will encourage doctors to speak to their migraine patients about the risk of depression and potential ways to prevent depression.” (3)

This is a cue to doctors and headache specialists who treat migraineurs for assessing the patient for possible symptoms of depression and chalking out an appropriate management program for them.

SOURCES:

  1. Image by David Castillo Dominici; Freedigitalphotos.net; February 2012; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=3062
  2. Comorbidities of Migraine – Page 4; Lisa K Mannix, MD; February 2012; http://www.headaches.org/pdf/CME_Mono02.pdf
  3. Migraine Increases Risk Of Depression In Women; Medical News Today; February 2012; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/242091.php

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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

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