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HeadWay, Issue #106 -- Blood Vessels and Migraine
April 20, 2013

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In this month's issue:

Blood Vessels and Migraine

I need your help!

Say what?!  Angiography

Blood Vessels and Migraine

It's not really big news, but you could call it the final nail in the coffin.  In a small study, Danish researchers set out to find just how much blood vessels expanded during a one-sided migraine headache (with no aura).

They scanned arteries inside and outside of skull, on both sides of the head.  What did they discover?  That blood vessels hardly expand at all.  In fact, only a slight dilation was seen in the blood vessels inside the skull on the side of the headache pain.

The patients were given sumatriptan after the first scan.  Researchers then discovered that when the headache went away - there was no change in the blood vessels.  The vessels on one side were still dilated - but still only slightly.

For those who haven't heard, we've known for a long time that migraine attacks aren't caused by expanding blood vessels.  Yes, in the old days migraine was called a "vascular disease", a disease related to blood vessels.

Today that old theory has been abandoned, but you might still hear it out there.

Are blood vessels related at all?  It's quite likely that they do play a part - but only a part, and that part is not a dilation that leads to every migraine headache.  At the same time, we're learning that blood flow may play a large part in your body's communication system.

What does this mean to you?  Well, first you probably don't need to worry about your blood vessels blowing up like a balloon and exploding - even though it may feel like they will!

It also reinforces the fact that we've learned a lot about migraine - and still have a lot to learn.

Many drugs were given to migraineurs because they had an impact on blood vessels.  Now it appears those drugs may work for an entirely different reason - a reason we usually don't understand.

Migraine is a complex disease, not a matter of stress making your blood boil.  Meanwhile, researchers suggest that new treatments should focus on neurological pain pathways, and not on blood vessels themselves.

Study abstract:  Magnetic resonance angiography of intracranial and extracranial arteries in patients with spontaneous migraine without aura: a cross-sectional study

I need your help!

There are two specific things I need your help with!  First, do you have a great migrainuer-friendly recipe to share?  Please, share it here!  I want to give one of you a free cookbook, but I'd like a few more to share recipes first.

Secondly, if you know a good specialist or doctor in Denver that has helped you with migraine, please leave a comment here.

Thanks for being a part of the migraine-fighting community!

Say what?!  Angiography

The above study used "magnetic resonance angiography" (MRA) to study the blood vessels.  Angiography simply refers to the imaging (taking pictures) of blood vessels.  The MRA technique is non-invasive, unlike other forms of angiographies.  However, sometimes dye will be injected so that better images can be taken.  MRAs are often given to diagnose stoke.  Read more here: Magnetic resonance angiography

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have feedback or ideas for future issues, visit the HeadWay MailRoom.  Your password is nomoache.
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