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Migraine and Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Migraine Frequency Plays a Role

Headaches • • Heart • • MigraineJun 26 09

Women who have migraines with aura may be more likely to have a stroke or heart attack than women who don’t have the condition, and the association varies by migraine frequency, according to research published in the June 24, 2009, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. An aura is a visual or other sensory disturbance that occurs before the migraine starts, such as seeing bright lights.

The study found that women with migraine with aura whose migraines occur at least once a week are more than four times as likely to have a stroke as women who do not have migraines. Women with migraine with aura who have migraines less than once a month were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack and nearly twice as likely to have had heart procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery or angioplasty. In contrast, women who had migraines with aura once a month had no increased risk of stroke or heart problems.

“These results should be interpreted with caution, since the number of migraine and migraine features were self-reported and there were relatively low numbers of stroke and heart problems in the large study group,” said study author and member of the American Academy of Neurology Tobias Kurth, MD, ScD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and INSERM, the French national research institute. “Nonetheless, more research is needed to determine how and why these differences occur and whether preventing migraines could reduce the risk of stroke and heart problems.”

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Migraine ups risk of high BP during pregnancy

Headaches • • Migraine • • PregnancyFeb 13 09

New research suggests that women who suffer migraine headaches are at increased risk for developing high blood pressure during pregnancy, a condition known as gestational hypertension, as well as preeclampsia—a condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in urine.

Several studies have looked at the link between migraine and high blood pressure during pregnancy, but due to their “methodological weaknesses” these studies have provided only weak evidence of the association between migraine and onset of high blood pressure in pregnancy, Dr. Fabio Facchinetti, from the University of Modena, Italy, and colleagues explain in the medical journal Cephalalgia.

To investigate further, they studied 702 pregnant women with normal blood pressure who were seen at clinics in Northern Italy.

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Hormones increase frequency of inherited form of migraine in women

Gender: Female • • MigraineDec 23 08

Familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) is an inherited form of severe migraine that is accompanied by visual disturbances known as aura. As with other types of migraine, it affects women more frequently than men. Most cases of FHM are caused by mutations in the CACNA1A gene, but whether these lead to spreading depression, the event in the brain that suppresses nerve cell activity and that has been linked to nongenetic forms of migraine with aura, has not been determined. However, Cenk Ayata and colleagues, at Massachusetts General Hospital, have now generated data in mice that address this issue as well as provide insight into the reasons why FHM affects women more frequently than men.

In the study, mice expressing either one of two different CACNA1A mutations that lead to FHM in humans were found to have an increased susceptibility to spreading depression. Interestingly, the mutation linked to more severe FHM caused a greater increase in susceptibility to spreading depression than the mutation linked to a milder form of FHM. As with humans, female mice were more susceptible to spreading depression than male mice. This difference was reversed if the female mice had their ovaries removed, and then partially restored by replacement of the hormone estrogen. The authors therefore conclude that both genetic and hormonal factors modulate an individual’s susceptibility to migraines with aura.

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No lasting social problems for kids with migraine

Children's Health • • MigraineJun 26 08

Kids who suffer migraine headaches may have more difficulty forming friendships in their elementary school years, new research shows, but by middle school they are just as popular as their migraine-free peers—perhaps even more so.

“There’s been a lot of concern that kids with chronic headaches or other pain disorders like migraine are at risk for long term social difficulties or problems in their relationships with peers,” Dr. Kathryn Vannatta of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio told Reuters Health. Yet little research has looked at how well these children function socially.

To investigate, Vannatta and colleagues evaluated social behavior and friendships among 69 children with migraine, including 32 elementary school children and 37 middle school children, and a group of matched control children.

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Link between migranes and sleep disorders in children

Headaches • • Migraine • • Sleep AidJun 10 08

Children with a migraine headache are more likely to have sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and lack of sleep, than children without a migraine, according to a research abstract on the effects of headaches on children’s sleep patterns that will be presented on Tuesday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

For this study, 90 children with headache and sleep problems underwent a polysomnogram, a sleep test that monitors the brain, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm, and breathing. Of the participants, 60 had a migraine, 11 had a chronic daily headache, six had a tension headache and 13 had a non-specific headache.

The study found the children with a migraine were twice as likely as the other children in the study to have OSA. A sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD) was found in 56 percent of the children with a migraine versus 30 percent of the children with a non-migraine headache. A severe migraine was also associated with shorter total sleep time, longer total time to fall asleep, and shorter REM sleep.

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PTSD common in chronic migraine sufferers

Headaches • • Migraine • • Psychiatry / PsychologyMay 08 08

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more common in people who suffer from chronic migraine headache than in those with episodic migraine headache, research suggests.

“Recent data suggest that PTSD may be more common in headache sufferers than in the general population,” Dr. B. Lee Peterlin, of Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and colleagues note in the journal Headache.

They assessed the relative frequency of PTSD in 32 patients with episodic migraine and 28 with chronic migraine. People with chronic migraine typically have headaches on 15 or more days a month, while people with episodic migraine have fewer than 15 days of headache per month.

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Traditional acupuncture may ease migraines

Alternative Medicine • • Headaches • • MigraineApr 11 08

Acupuncture, as practiced in traditional Chinese medicine, may offer some relief from migraine pain, a new study suggests.

Italian researchers found that regular treatments with “true” acupuncture helped improve symptoms in 32 patients whose migraines had been resistant to standard preventive medication.

Moreover, the therapy worked better than two forms of “sham” acupuncture used for comparison, the researchers report in the medical journal Headache.

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Frovatriptan may prevent puncture-related headache

Headaches • • MigraineAug 27 07

Frovatriptan, used to prevent and treat migraine headaches, may also be of use in preventing post-dural puncture headache, according to Italian researchers.

In the journal Cephalalgia, Dr. Gennaro Bussone of Istituto Nazionale Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan and colleagues note that post-dural puncture headache is associated with the loss of CSF following dural puncture and subsequent shifts in cranial contents.

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Preventive migraine therapy raises quality of life

Headaches • • MigraineAug 21 07

The results of a study published in the medical journal Cephalalgia indicate that preventive migraine therapy with nadolol or topiramate significantly improves the quality of life of patients with migraine, although their quality of life still remains below the average level.

Nadolol, sold in the U.S. under the trade name Corgard, is a beta-blocker that is used to treat high blood pressure and angina (chest pain). The drug works by slowing the heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels. Topiramate, sold under the trade name Topamax, is used to treat seizures in patients with epilepsy.

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Triptan’ may safely prevent menstrual migraine

Gender: Female • • Headaches • • MigraineJul 05 07

A drug used to treat acute migraine can be safely taken long term to prevent some of the migraines women may experience around the time of their period, research shows.

Results of the study indicate that naratriptan twice daily is well tolerated when taken for 6 continuous days per month for up to 1 year for the prevention of menstruation-related migraine.

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Headaches, fatigue tied to kids’ unexplained pain

Children's Health • • Headaches • • MigraineJun 19 07

Children who often suffer headaches or daytime drowsiness may be at heightened risk of developing unexplained body aches and pains, a study has found.

Researchers found that of more than 1,000 children they followed for one year, those who said they had weekly headaches or bouts of sleepiness were more likely to develop “non-traumatic” pain in their muscles or joints.

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Merck migraine drug shows promise in clinical trial

Drug News • • MigraineJun 08 07

An experimental migraine drug being developed by Merck & Co. significantly relieved pain two hours after dosing compared to a placebo in a mid-stage clinical trial, the company said on Thursday.

The drug, MK-0974, also demonstrated sustained pain relief through 24 hours, according to data presented at the American Headache Society annual meeting in Chicago.

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Parent’s pain may affect child’s migraine severity

Children's Health • • Headaches • • MigraineJun 08 07

The degree of disability and pain suffered by adolescents with migraines may have a lot to do with how their parents experience pain, a new study shows.

Dr. Ann Pakalnis and colleagues found that, as the number of chronic pain-related conditions reported by a parent increased, so did the child’s number of days with migraine, hours of disability due to headache, and use of anti-migraine triptan medications.

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Gentle yoga may aid migraine sufferers

Alternative Medicine • • Headaches • • MigraineMay 16 07

A combination of yoga poses, breathing exercises and relaxation may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, a new study suggests.

Researchers in India found that among 72 adults suffering from migraines, patients who were randomly assigned to take part in a yoga therapy program started having headaches less often and endured less pain with each migraine attack compared with the subjects assigned to a self-care group.

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Migraines During Pregnancy Linked to Stroke and Other Vascular Diseases

Fertility and pregnancy • • Headaches • • Migraine • • Pregnancy • • StrokeMay 01 07

Migraines during pregnancy are strongly linked to vascular diseases, such as stroke and heart disease, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 28 – May 5, 2007.

Researchers looked at a national database of nearly 17 million women discharged for pregnancy deliveries from 2000-2003. A total of 33,956 of the women were treated for migraines.

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