The Science Behind Migraines

I have suffered from migraines for several years now, but luckily I only get them about once a year unlike some people who have them daily. The first time I got a migraine was in elementary school while I was having a flute lesson. It became increasingly difficult for me to play; I couldn’t feel my fingers that were supposed to be playing the notes, and I felt like I was in a dream-like state. This is an especially scary experience for someone in the fifth grade. Since then, I get migraines along with the terrible symptoms that go with them at least once a year. I have always wondered, why me? Why am I more likely to get migraines and why do I get them? Can these migraines be treated? A friend of mine’s mother suffers from chronic migraines every day and she has yet to find a solution to prevent them. I cannot imagine having to deal with the extreme pains of migraines on a daily basis. I decided to look into the science behind migraines.

migraines

According to the statistics found on this website, migraines are actually more prevalent in women than they are in men. Not all people who get migraines suffer from chronic ones, but it is found that there are at least 37 million people in the U.S. alone who suffer from migraines. So why does one get a migraine? Many people live without knowing a true reason why they get migraines, but those who have a family history of migraines are more likely to get them. I can relate to this because my brother experiences migraines occasionally and my dad suffers from bad headaches every day. Some common triggers for people who get migraines are: different atmospheres with scents such as strong perfume or unsteady lights, certain kinds of foods, menstruation for women, and stress. Stress is the most common trigger for migraines. Those who live with chronic migraines may lose the ability to function in daily activities, cannot go to work, or cannot go to school. I know that when I get a migraine at school, I need to go home because I cannot function in a school environment. Some of the most common symptoms of migraines are vomiting and nausea, change in vision with blurriness, an aura, pains on different sides of the body, sensitivity to light and sound, and a large amount of head pain.

migraine_aura

Scientists have recently found a new experimental drug called TEV-48125 that may help people who suffer from chronic migraines. These new medications contain antibodies which block CBRP; this chemical causes blood vessels to expand and inflammation to occur in the brain during migraines. This is the first drug created to prevent migraines and it working could be monumental. Many other drugs have been used to treat migraines, but the only other one that can actually prevent them from occurring is Botox. A study was done with 261 randomly assigned patients who suffered from severe migraines. One group took injections of TEV-48125 monthly at a high or low dose, and the other group took a placebo for three months. The effects of this study appeared within the group who took the higher dose of the drug after three days, and those who took the lower dose took seven days.  The conclusion of this study showed that within a week of taking the drug injection, patients saw a substantial improvements in their migraine pains. A similar study had been done prior to this new one in which the number of hours the patients had headaches each month significantly dropped after taking the drug. No serious side effects have yet to surface, however this new drug may be too expensive for patients to afford.  If this study was done properly, it would be a blind study because the patients did not know if they were getting the drug or the placebo. However, it was not stated if the scientists knew who got what; it is unknown if it was a double-blind study. From the given information, this was a blind randomized control placebo trial that was also experimental because the scientists manipulated the variables.

It is difficult to find the exact sources and treatments for migraines. Hopefully with the increase in new technology and medicine, we will be able to prevent migraines more easily. People will no longer have to miss work and be in great amounts of pain throughout their lives because of migraines. If you are not sure what it’s like to experience migraine pain and symptoms, this video can show you what people go through who do.

 

https://consumer.healthday.com/head-and-neck-information-17/migraine-news-477/experimental-drug-acts-fast-against-chronic-migraine-711766.html

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306955,00.html#your-environment-0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/migraine-virtual-reality-video_us_57075b60e4b0c4e26a225176

1 thought on “The Science Behind Migraines

  1. Taylor Weinstein

    Hi Alyssa,
    I am really glad you wrote a blog post on migraines. For me I have been experiencing migrants for a while now. There was a face I would get a headache everyday and once in a while I would get one so bad as to call it a migraine. However, I am starting to feel better and have not been getting them as often. Do you think the migraines could be due to chance? I have gone to many doctors and the reason I would get them was do to stress. I like how you talked about gender and stated that women get them more than men which is true and my doctor has told me that as well. I love how you put a video into your post really adds to the post. For me when I use to get these headaches I felt the same way and I would always say why me? I think stress plays a really big part into why people get migraines.
    http://www.livescience.com/43507-stress-causes-headaches.html ( this article talks about how stress plays a part in migraine and how it effects so many people)

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