What Your Skin Temperature Could Tell About Your Migraine

 

Voila

Lower Temperatures At Body Extremities Could Indicate Migraine In Women (1)

A small scale study observing a women-only population of 41 Finnish women stated that skin temperatures in migraining women can be used as a bio-marker of vascular health since migraineurs are more at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than healthy populations.

The study’s report published in Autonomic Neuroscience also observed that those with migraines usually have colder nose as well as hand and feet and that it could be attributed to abnormalities in the underlying blood vessels.

Here’s a quick look at the study statistics: (2)

  • Total women studied: 41
  • Those with migraines: 12; 10 with family history of migraines
  • Those without migraines: 29; 9 with family history of migraines

Out of the 12 migraining women 7 were found to experience right-sides migraines and 5 suffered the brunt of left-sided pains. The migraining population experienced visual aura. The study used digital infrared camera to measure skin temperatures in both migraining and control group. Temperatures of the cheeks, nose, forehead, fingertips and toes were taken for comparisons during headache-free periods.

The following results were obtained:

  • Women with right-sided migraines had higher blood pressure.
  • Women with right-sided migraines had lower hand and finger temperatures.
  • Compared to controls (healthy population) there was a 12 deg C (9 deg F) difference in temperatures at the fingertips and nose (extremities)

This could be explained by the fact that migraineurs often have constricted peripheral arteries or impaired functioning of the autonomic nervous system which in turn also makes them more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases.

The average temperature of the nose and hands was about 16 deg C (approx 3.6 degrees F) lower in migraine subjects than controls. Of the migraine patients, 58% had skin temperatures below 30 deg C (or 86 deg F), which is considered a normal skin temperature, in both the nose and fingers.

However, it must be noted that this study was not only small sized but also did not include men. Larger population studies including men and other ethnic groups should be conducted to come to a definitive conclusion. It however, does provide some indication to the direction in which medication development can be done. Biofeedback as an alternative medical therapy makes use of this skin temperature differential in migraineurs to manage pain episodes.

 SOURCES

  1. Image Credit: Business Woman Worried Stock Photo; freedigitalphotos.net; Web January 2014; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Business_People_g201-Business_Woman_Worried_p76375.html
  2. The Connection Between Migraines and Skin Temperature; The Wall Street Journal; Web January 2013; http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303497804579242423379994080

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Migraining Women Likely To Develop Dementia: Study

Dementia Risk For Migraineurs

 

Migraineurs With Aura Are 48% More Likely To Develop Dementia In Later Life (1)

As if the sustained pounding, debilitating pain, the flurry of traumatic symptoms and ineffective medicines were not enough for migraineurs, studies are now showing that persons who suffer migraines with visual and other aura are 48% more likely to develop dementia as they begin to age than their healthier counterparts! (2)

In part this could be explained by the presence of white matter lesions that the brains of migraineurs are often seemed to have when scanned using an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).

We know that white matter of the brain consists of nerve fibres (axons) and are surrounded by fat called myelin (3). The main function of the white matter is to transmit signals from one region of the cerebrum to another and between the cerebrum and lower brain centres. Lesions in the white matter interfere with signal transmissions. Damage to this white matter is a common significant factor observed in all those suffering from dementia.

Earlier control tests and those conducted at the Changhua Christian Hospital, Taiwan has already shown that migraineurs are at an exponential risk of diabetes and of developing hypertension, depression and cardiovascular diseases.

However, other studies have shown that the mental status of women with a history of migraine was no different from other women’s, so more research is needed.

SOURCES

  1. Image Credits: Dementia Disease And A Loss Of Brain Function And Memories As Al by David Castillo Dominici: FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Web November 2013; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/dementia-disease-and-a-loss-of-brain-function-and-memories-as-al-photo-p173821
  2. Migraine may be linked to dementia; IOL Lifestyle; Web November 2013; http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/migraine-may-be-linked-to-dementia-1.1608597#.UoowF9JmiSo
  3. White matter of the brain; MedlinePlus; Web November 2013; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002344.htm

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Acupressure Wristband Helps With Migraine Nausea

seaband_child

Acupressure Wristband Relieves Nausea During Migraines (1)

Aside from excruciating pain, nausea and/or vomiting is one of the most bothersome symptoms of migraines. Studies show that it is more common in occurrence than aura among migraineurs of both genders. A good 80% of migraineurs experience degrees of nausea during a migraine attack.

Thankfully, some testing from Berolina Clinic in Lohne, Germany has resulted in an acupressure wristband that subdues symptom of nausea when a migraine episode is underway. Dr. Zoltan Medgyessy, the leading headache physician of the clinic presented in the International Headache Congress 2013 in Boston the efficacy of the wristband. He demonstrated that the wristband applies pressure to point P6, the antiemetic point on the inner wrist providing fast relief from nausea for migraineurs.  (2)

The wristband was formed after a study on 41 patients who had averaged 33 days of migraines in the past 3 months and graded a nausea average of 6.2 on a scale of extreme 10. 83% of the nauseous migraineurs experienced a quick mitigation of the symptom to 2.0 out of 10 at approximately 28 minutes from time of wearing the wristband.

According to Dr. Medgyessy, “Acupressure wristbands are drug-free and that is an important advantage in using this therapy for migraine nausea as they have no risks for interaction with migraine drugs or the side effects commonly experienced with antiemetics, such as dizziness or tiredness. There are still many unknowns about migraine, making findings such as these an important stride toward improving the quality of life for those who suffer from the condition.” (3)

SOURCES:

  1. Image credit: Acupressure Wristband from Sea-Band; BaronePharmacy.com; July 2013; http://www.baronepharmacy.com.au/digestive-health/seaband-seaband-acupressure-wristband-childrens-pi-24108.html
  2. Acupressure Wristband Relieves Migraine Nausea; Medical News Today; Web July 2013; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/262536.php
  3. Efficacy of acupressure to relieve migraine nausea presented at International Headache Congress; EurekaAlert.com; Web July 2013; http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-06/rla-eoa061813.php

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Biological Roots of Migraine Identified In Large Scale Genome Study

Gene Skull

12 genetic regions have been identified with migraine susceptibility (1)

How does a migraineur look to you when not experiencing a migraine attack?  I suspect you would say, ‘I had no idea ABC suffered migraines at all’ or ‘s/he looks fit and fine to me’. Correct. Both times…and that is what makes migraine as a neurological disorder very hard to study by researchers. The underlying pathologies and biomarkers are just not present during a non-episode.

To work around this problem, a team of international researchers at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute worked on 29 different genomic studies, including over 100,000 samples from both migraine patients and control samples – the best way we think to study neurological disorders like migraines and epilepsy and understand it’s biology.

12 regions of migraine susceptibility were identified out of which:

  • 8 regions were found in/ near genes known to play a role in controlling brain circuitries;
  • 2 regions were associated with genes that are responsible for maintaining healthy brain tissue;
  • Some regions of susceptibility lay close to a network of genes sensitive to oxidative stress, a biochemical process that results in the dysfunction of cells.

According to Dr Gisela Terwindt, co-author from Leiden University Medical Centre, “This large scale method of studying over 100,000 samples of healthy and affected people means we can tease out the genes that are important suspects and follow them up in the lab.” (2)

Besides this, the team also identified an additional 134 genetic regions potentially related to migraine susceptibility though statistical evidence backing it were not very strong. However, there have been other studies that exhibit that these statistically weaker culprits can play an equal part in the underlying biology of a disease or

As per Dr Mark Daly, from the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, “Effective studies that give us biological or biochemical results and insights are essential if we are to fully get to grips with this debilitating condition. Pursuing these studies in even larger samples and with denser maps of biological markers will increase our power to determine the roots and triggers of this disabling disorder.” (3)

SOURCES:

  1. Image credits: Human Head With DNA Structure; FreeDigitalPhotos.net;Victor Habbick; Web June 2013; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10073380
  2. Getting to Grips With Migraine: Researchers Identify Some of the Biological Roots of Migraine from Large-Scale Genome Study; Science Daily News; Web June 2013; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130623144952.htm
  3. Getting to grips with migraine; Cambridge Network; Web June 2013; http://www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk/news/getting-to-grips-with-migraine/

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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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