Middle Age Migraineurs At Risk Of Parkinson’s Later


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”


  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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Current Through Electrodes To Reverse An Unfolding Migraine: Research

A pain so incapacitating that a possible cure has to match the dramatics to be effective! A team of researchers from CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering have now devised a procedure by which electric current is passed through your brain to undo a migraine attack at it’s prodrome phase.

Sending Electric Currents To The Brain’s Pain Network (1)

The team of biochemical engineers led by associate professor, Dr. Marom Bikson, associate professor of biomedical engineering have clearly demonstrated that brain stimulation technology works. So what is done in this shocking procedure? The technique involves passing low voltage electric current to the brain from electrodes attached to a person’s scalp. The researchers focused on that part of the brain which has a network of interconnected brain regions involved in processing pain signals, called the pain network. To their surprise they found the technique could reverse ingrained changes in the brain caused by chronic migraine.

This procedure applies the principal of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). As per Bikson, “We developed this technology and methodology in order to get the currents deep into the brain. The fact that people still suffer from migraines means that the existing treatments using electrical technology or chemistry are not working.” (2)

The study found that repeated sessions reduced both the duration and the intensity of pain in close to 40% of the migraineurs. The technique is recommended by Dr. Bikson to be used every day to ward off attacks, or periodically, like a booster. So far, the only side-effect recorded has been mild-tingling sensation in the person during the time s/he receives the procedure.

The researchers are looking forward to widen and scale up there clinical trials to come up with more findings across demographics so that once through te treatment can be made available at hospitals world over.

This new transcranial direct current stimulation (tCDS) has the following advantages over the other cranial nerve stimulation techniques available to medicine:

  • No need for unwieldy equipment
  • No potentially dangerous side-effects such as seizures
  • Stimulation of the deep brain instead of just the upper layer of the brain
  • No need for surgery to reach deep brain region to plant electrodes
  • Portable system and can develop the unit as small as an iPod working on a 9 volt battery.


  1. Image by Victor Habbick; FreeDigitalPhotos.net; May 2012; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=4036
  2. Technology Eases Migraine Pain in the Deep Brain; Science Daily News; May 2012; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120430192625.htm

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