Migraines linked to bacteria in mouth

People who suffer from migraines have more of certain bacteria in their mouths

People who suffer from migraines have long complained that certain foods trigger the severe headaches. New research suggests the culprit might be the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

Researchers found that the mouths of people who suffer from migraines harboured significantly more of the microbes that break down nitrates found in certain foods.

These bacteria play an important role in processing nitrates so they can then be converted into nitric oxide in the bloodstream, which widens blood vessels and improves circulation.

While this process is helpful for cardiovascular health, the findings suggest an abundance of these bacteria may break down nitrates more quickly, causing blood vessels in the brain and scalp to dilate, triggering migraines.

Nitrates are naturally found in a variety of leafy green vegetables, and they are added to processed meat as a preservative and to improve flavour and colour.

Doctors have been telling people who suffer from migraines to avoid processed foods for years. Dr. Michael Zitney, who leads the Headache & Pain Relief Centre in Toronto, says this research strengthens their case.

“We have long since known that these kinds of foods can trigger migraines, but we haven’t really known how,” he says.

Link to cardiovascular research

The process of how nitrates break down into nitric oxide is well-studied in cardiovascular health.

Nitrate-containing drugs are prescribed to treat chest pain or congestive heart failure. But roughly four out of five cardiac patients who take the drugs report severe headaches as a side-effect.

The study’s authors hope these findings will help link existing cardiovascular research with migraines.

“It opens a full area of research and connects two areas of research that have not been connected before,” says the study’s lead author, Antonio Gonzalez, from the University of California San Diego.

Data collected from ‘citizen scientists’

This study was based on data from the American Gut Project, which crowd sources oral and fecal samples from so-called “citizen scientists.”

Researchers sequenced bacteria found in 172 oral samples and 1,996 fecal samples. They found that the nitrate-reducing microbes were slightly more abundant in the fecal samples of people who suffer from migraines, but significantly more abundant in their oral samples.

Chronic migraines are frequent, severe, pulsating headaches accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. They last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

It’s estimated that eight per cent of Canadians have been diagnosed with migraines, although this likely underestimates their prevalence, as some people who suffer from migraines don’t seek professional help.

The study’s authors say they still need to determine whether the bacteria are a cause or a result of migraines, or are indirectly linked in some other way.

For now, Zitney says, the research suggests that some migraines could one day be treated by controlling the bacteria in our mouths.

“This may be just a glimmer of hope in terms of pursuing possible treatments,” he says.

The study was published earlier this week in mSystems, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/bacteria-migraines-1.3811940

New drugs could prevent migraine attacks from occurring


Researchers have developed drugs that are aimed at preventing migraine attacks from occurring, rather than stopping the attacks once they have started.

These studies are the first to test monoclonal antibodies for the prevention of migraine, and both are directed against a relatively new target in migraine prevention, the calcitonin gene-related peptide, or CGRP.

Both are phase II studies, meaning larger studies are needed to confirm the results.

One study involved 163 people who had migraine from five to 14 days per month. They received either a placebo or a single IV dose of a drug called ALD403 and then were followed for 24 weeks. Those who received the drug had an average of 5.6 fewer migraine days per month, a 66-percent decrease, compared to 4.6 fewer days per month for those who received a placebo, or a 52-percent decrease. Sixteen percent of those who received the drug had no migraine days at 12 weeks, while none of those who received the placebo were free from migraine at that point.

In the other study, 217 people who had migraine four to 14 days per month received biweekly subcutaneous injections of either a placebo or a drug called LY2951742 for 12 weeks.

Those who received the drug had an average of 4.2 fewer migraine days per month at 12 weeks, or a 63-percent decrease, while those who received placebo had 3 fewer migraine days per month, or a 42-percent decrease.

Source: Yahoo news

U.S. FDA approves first device to prevent migraine headaches

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday it has approved the marketing of a medical device as a preventative treatment for migraine headaches.

The FDA said in a statement that this is the first transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device specifically authorized for use prior to the onset of pain.

The device, to be marketed under the name Cefaly, is manufactured by STX-Med in Herstal, Liege, Belgium.

“Cefaly provides an alternative to medication for migraine prevention,” said Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “This may help patients who cannot tolerate current migraine medications for preventing migraines or treating attacks. ”

Cefaly is a small, portable, battery-powered, prescription device that resembles a plastic headband worn across the forehead and atop the ears, the FDA said. The user positions the device in the center of the forehead, just above the eyes, using a self- adhesive electrode.

The device applies an electric current to the skin and underlying body tissues to stimulate branches of the trigeminal nerve, which has been associated with migraine headaches. The user may feel a tingling or massaging sensation where the electrode is applied, the agency said.

According to the FDA, Cefaly is indicated for patients 18 years of age and older and should only be used once per day for 20 minutes.

The FDA said the approval was based on data from a clinical trial in Belgium involving 67 individuals who experienced more than two migraine headache attacks a month and who had not taken any medications to prevent migraines for three months prior to using Cefaly.

The study found that those who used Cefaly experienced ” significantly fewer days” with migraines per month and used less migraine attack medication than those who used a placebo device, the agency said.

The approval was also based on a patient satisfaction study of more than 2,300 Cefaly users in Belgium and France, which showed that about 53 percent of patients were satisfied with Cefaly treatment and willing to buy the device for continued use, it said, noting that no serious adverse events occurred during either study.

Source; News

Top 5 Reasons Why You Get a Headache

Having a headache is no fun. We have all been there. A small twinge can soon turn into a headache, that can be mildly irritating to excruciatingly painful. But what are some of the main causes of headaches? This article will explore some of the reasons why headaches occur.

#1 Lack of sleep

You can normally tell that if you have had insufficient sleep that a headache will start. I know that is how it usually is with me. I can almost guarantee that if I have not had a proper night’s rest, I will wake up and throughout the day, a headache will form. The solution is simple. Just try to get to bed a little earlier and get plenty of sleep so that a headache does not form in the first place.

#2 Dehydration

By the time you find out that you are dehydrated, you will already be quite dehydrated. One of the signs of this is the onset of a headache. So if you have dry gums, smarting eyes and you know you have not been drinking enough water, you are also likely to develop a headache. If you get a headache as the result of dehydration, it will be a more intense headache, and harder to just shake off. Drink water throughout the day. Even if you have already developed a headache, drink plenty of water with the painkillers and continue to do so. It will help the medication kick in quicker and the headache should soon subside.

#3 Eye strain

How long has it been since your last eye examination? If you wear glasses or contact lenses, your eyesight may have changed and you may require a new prescription. One of the first signs you will get is a headache, as your eyes strain to see what is before you.

#4 Stress or anxiety

Do you worry about a lot of things that are going on in your life? Do you find it hard to cope with anxiety? These are both reasons why many people have a headache. A tension headache will often occur after the muscles around the shoulders and neck become tense. It is not pleasant to have to deal with a headache on top of stress and anxiety as well. Try to relax the shoulders and neck and deal with the issues that are causing you so much stress and anxiety. Do not keep it all bottled up. It will only increase stress levels.

#5 Medical reasons

Concussions and side effects from prescription medications are another reason why a person may develop a headache. See your doctor if you feel that you cannot cope with the headaches and ask about changing to another medication that will not leave you with bad side effects. A concussion is not a condition that can be dealt with straightaway. It may take some time to overcome it. A persistent headache may indicate a more serious underlying cause. Again, consult your doctor and be specific about the kind of pain you feel and how long it has been going on. The doctor will then be more able to treat you properly.

It is not possible to avoid all headaches. But you can help to lessen the effects of a headahce by taking the appropriate action. Some headaches seem to just appear for no apparent reason and with no warning. Make sure that when you do feel a headache developing that you have a reliable form of painkiller on hand to deal with the pain quickly. Try to lie down and close your eyes for a few minutes until you feel the pain lessen. Headaches are a nuisance, but they need not take over your life.

Source: Yahoo voices

Stress Linked to Headache Frequency

German researchers have confirmed what headache sufferers have long suspected: The more stressed out you are, the more frequent your headaches.

For being so common, the exact mechanisms behind headaches can be somewhat mysterious. While the new data can only suggest an association with stress, “I would think that stress ‘triggers’ headache,” one of the researchers, Dr. Zaza Katsarava of University Hospital, University of Duisburg-Essen, told.

The study used data from the German Headache Consortium Study of 5,159 people age 21-71. These people answered questionnaires every three months from 2010 to 2012 about headache type and frequency and used a visual 100-point scale to state how much stress they experienced.

After adjusting for age, sex, drinking habits, smoking and so on, the data was clear. For those who reported “tension” headaches, each 10 point increase in stress was associated with a 6.3 percent increase in the number of days each month they suffered through a headache.

Migraine and mixed tension-migraine sufferers also showed increases with stress, 4.3 and 4 percent respectively, though Katsarava cautioned that because headache type was self-reported, some people who said they had migraines might have had tension headaches.

Those results jibe with other studies, like one from Ohio’s Xavier University released last spring in which researchers from the business school found that headache-related hospital admission increased significantly during the 2008-2009 recession.

Alleviating stress can be especially important for people who experience headaches, Katsarava said, because stress can create a vicious cycle. “Stress triggers headache, headache triggers stress. Because people are disabled, they can not manage their life and their duties.”

Headache treatment, she argued, should be include medical, psychological and behavioral approaches.

Source: nbc news