New Research and Meds Provide Hope

Written by AnaLise on December 4, 2008 – 1:15 pm -


Migraines have been a problem for a long time.  Not many years ago, the best doctors could do for a migraine sufferer, especially a chronic migraine sufferer, was to recommend rest, decrease of stress and aspirin, Tylenol or Advil.  In addition, ice packs were common treatments.  The problem was that most of these treatments didn’t work – and don’t work – against tough, strong, painful, debilitating and chronic migraines.

Because of continuous research in the medical field, such as researchers from the Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health and The National Headache Foundation, there have been many new medications developed and many new uses for existing medications, as well.

In addition, research has discovered some ways to help some migraine sufferers avoid a lot of medication and still ease the pain of migraines.  Research has also helped develop various treatments such as biofeedback, which often helps migraine sufferers ease the symptoms without medication or with less medication.  Research has also helped develop a number of specific medications that were created for migraines, such as Cafergot, Topomax, Imitrex, Toridol, Midrin, Maxalt, Relpax, Zomig, Frova, Acular, Axert, Anaprox, Fioricet, Orudis, Amerge, Migranol and many others.  The fact that there are now a large amount of choices of medications, when less than 15 years ago there were only one or two medications available that were specifically for migraines, helps migraine sufferers have choices and have a better chance to interact with doctors and other medical professionals involved in their treatment.  Without continuous research about migraines and what helps ease and relieve them, there could still only be a couple of medications available to migraine sufferers leaving few options and fewer conversation as well as less participation in a person’s own care and treatment of migraines.

Some of the more recent or ongoing studies about migraines have included looking at synapses, neurons, the role of resting MRI’s in diagnosing chronic migraines, the effects of estrogen levels and menstruation on migraines and many other studies and forms of research.

With this amount of research continuing throughout the country at major universities, medical centers and other heath care institutions, there is hope for migraine sufferers.  Today, there is hope in the form of choices of treatment and medications.  Tomorrow there could be answers about and elimination of the causes of migraines and the end of the excessive suffering from this debilitating form of headache.

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A Silver Lining for Migraines?

Written by AnaLise on November 10, 2008 – 11:20 am -

As anyone who has suffered even one debilitating migraine knows, these headaches can be horrible beyond description.  They have been described as everything from a hot sword going through one’s head, a vice at the back of the head, neck or eyeball that just keeps tightening, and various other descriptions of very painful experiences.  Just the descriptions alone can make most of us wince with pain at the thought of these headaches.

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel and even a silver lining regarding migraines.  The light at the end of the tunnel is that researchers are finding more ways to fight migraines, more triggers to focus on – to help people avoid them, thus eliminating these headaches – and more treatments for migraines.  Medication is better and more specific.  Gizmos and gadgets that actually work are being invented, including electromagnetic and other instruments that work on the nerves and the transmission overload that often causes migraines. 

The silver lining is one of those catch 22 situations, but it is still quite important.  Researchers think they have discovered a link between migraines and lower breast cancer.  They have recently estimated that women who suffer from migraines have about a 30% lower chance of getting breast cancer than those who do not have migraines.

Doctors and researchers attribute part of the connection between the lower incidence of breast cancer and high incidence of migraines to the fluctuation in hormones that can be involved in both issues.  The cancers that are being prevented are estrogen sensitive, so researchers are working hard to provide a link between the hormones, migraines and low breast cancer percentages.

Though his is the silver lining and excellent news, researchers are reminding us that these are very preliminary findings.  There will be more research to come.


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Migraines Could be Relieved by Oxygen

Written by AnaLise on July 24, 2008 – 6:04 pm -

There have been numerous discoveries during the past two decades regarding the causes and treatments of migraines.  Both are as widely varied as the people who suffer from them.  The interesting facts involving both the causes and the treatments of migraines is that even though there is not specific information that works somewhat across-the-board for most people in general, there are a couple of classes of medication that work well for diminishing or eliminating the symptoms of many migraines in many people.  Many of these medications are similar, and most of them work quickly if taken at the onset of a migraine.

Now there is a good chance that there is something else to add to your arsenal against migraine suffering.  The new anti-migraine defense is Oxygen.  Yes, you heard right.  This is good news – especially for individuals who prefer not to take prescription drugs or other medications if at all possible.

The scoop on oxygen is that there are two types of oxygen therapy that could help treat migraine headaches.  One type of oxygen therapy involves patients inhaling pure oxygen at normal room pressure.  The other type of oxygen therapy involves patients inhaling the oil in a hyper baric chamber under high pressure. 

It has been determined that oxygen therapy – especially in a hyper baric chamber – helps many migraine sufferers within 15 minutes of starting the treatment.  At normal room pressure, oxygen took about 45 minutes to work.  This same is true of cluster headache, though the symptoms of cluster headaches seem to be eliminated with oxygen therapy sooner than migraines.

Researchers feel that most of the time, doctors will use oxygen at normal room pressure due to the fact that most doctors don’t keep hyper baric chambers in their offices and there aren’t that many of the chambers available.

It should make migraine sufferers breathe easier to know that they may be able to tame the symptoms of their migraines with just plain, pure oxygen.

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Blame it on Your Parents

Written by AnaLise on July 17, 2008 – 7:11 pm -

We have blamed a million things on our parents – some of them logical and actually deserving of being blamed upon them – and others, well, you know the drill.  There are the typical issues such as hereditary baldness, flat feet, eye color, hair color, pudginess and more.

Then there are those other things.  You were too strict.  You weren’t strict enough.  You liked my sister or brother better. 

Now researchers have found yet another thing that can be legitimately blamed on our parents – migraine headaches.  If a person has a family history of migraines, it is more likely that they will end up battling migraines themselves.  The extent to which this is true depends on a couple of factors.  If both of your parents suffered from migraine headaches, you have a higher probability of having to deal with them as well.  If only one of your parents was afflicted by these debilitating and painful headaches, your risk of having migraines is increased compared to the general population but it is not as high as it would be if both your parents had them – especially on a semi-regular basis.

As for other factors for migraines, guess what ladies…Yes, women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men are.  If you are a relatively young women, your chances of having migraines are higher still.  Interestingly, during their earlier years, boys and girls get headaches somewhat equally, but with the onset of puberty, young women’s amounts of headaches increase, most likely having to do with hormone issues.

The good news for all migraine sufferers is that, unlike treatment that was available for our parents, there are more types of effective treatments and medications readily available today than ever before.  Regardless of whether we blame migraines on our parents along with everything else or just try to deal with them and not place blame, at least we have options that previous generations did not have.  Besides, we have On-Star Navigational Systems, Costco and ColdStone ice cream.  That’s got to be worth something!

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Research, Treatment and Therapy for Migraine Headaches

Written by AnaLise on July 8, 2008 – 8:13 am -

For years there have been all sorts of ideas about what causes migraine headaches, what are the individual triggers, how to diagnose migraines and what can be done to provide treatment or therapy for migraines.

There a new medications coming to the marketplace on a regular basis.  Relief that once took hours or days can now be available in a matter of a few minutes, depending upon which medication is prescribed and which one is the right one for you.

Research is still continuing to find more causes for medications for migraines and more treatments for migraines, as well.  One of the latest studies has been looking at clues to the biological causes of migraine headaches that 15 to 20% of people worldwide are suffering.

The studies which have been done by medical scientists, focus on a rare, inherited form of migraines determined that there are genetic mutations that are connected to familial migraines.  These rare, inherited familial migraines alter the way sodium channels work in the brain.  Sodium funnels and flows though membranes in the brain cells that are part of the conduction of electrical currents in nerve impulses.

The studies, being conducted at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have found various specific cellular events that may cause or trigger migraines.  These events are even more specific to the aura that precedes migraines when people see spots and flashes of light and other abnormal sights and feelings prior to a migraine headache that signals that a migraine has been triggered and is about to take place.

The studies have suggested that it is important to look at medications that focus on and target sodium channels to treat some types of migraines.  Since there are various triggers for migraine headaches, it is logical and important that researchers continue trying to find various treatments.  Depending on the results that the studies at Vanderbilt yield, the results could help a great number of people get relief from this most debilitating of medical issues.

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