Posts Tagged ‘migraine news’
Thursday, June 9th, 2011
“It’s just Stress” and other Fallacies- The truth about Migraines: Migraines are debilitating neurological disorder that interferes with daily life, in and outside of the home. Chronic migraine headaches are one of the leading causes of disability, and account for millions of hospital visits to ER every year. Migraine symptoms, such as pulsating head pain, intense nausea and stomach cramping, acute sensitivity to strong scents, loud noise and bright lighting, make life unbearable for the migraine sufferer.
Still, families, friends and coworkers of migraine patients have difficulty relating, as there are many incorrect stereotypes and misconceptions that surround migraine illness, regardless of the best efforts of migraine awareness groups, such as M.A.G.N.U.M. and the World Headache Alliance, and online migraine support sites such as Migraine.com, Help for Headaches and WebMD- Migraines. (See Top 20 Websites for Migraine Headache Patients.)
Below is a list of 6 oft-repeated myths about migraines:
Migraine Myth #1: Migraines are like any other headaches.
Not true. Clenched muscles, usually in the upper back, shoulders, and neck regions, cause tension headaches. Common stress headache pain can range from mild to moderately severe; over-the-counter pain medications are sufficient treatments for the common headache.
Migraine headaches are a neurological illness. Constricted blood vessels cause migraine headaches, and the pain fluctuates between moderate to debilitating. The triggers that cause migraines are numerous: food, weather, stress, hormones, light, scents and sleep disturbances. Only a neurologist who specializes in migraine therapy can recommend proper treatment. Migraine Pop Quiz: How Well do you Understand your Headaches?
Migraine Myth #2: There’s no real cure for migraines.
Actually, there’s no one cure for migraines. Many factors need consideration when finding an effective migraine treatment; the task can sometimes seem fruitless. Don’t let pessimism keep you from finding migraine headache relief. Seek a qualified neurologist who specializes with migraines, and stay informed by frequently visiting online migraine forums and blogs. Alternative Migraine Treatments: Thinking outside of the Botox
Migraine Myth #3: Stress only triggers stress headaches, not migraines.
Stress is the leading cause of all headaches, including migraines and tension headaches. So how does one tell the difference between a migraine attack and a stress headache? Migraine pain attacks one side of the head only. Tension headaches are described as a tight band circling the head.
Migraine Myth #4: Migraines are associated with mental illness.
There is a high correlation between migraines, depression and anxiety, but that does not mean that all migraine patients have emotional disorders or need antidepressants. There is currently no proof that mental illness of any kind causes migraines. However, one must take into account the emotional strain chronic migraine sufferers experience. It is common for migraine patients to go through phases or depression, nervousness or anxiety while learning to cope with their condition. Stop Your Next Panic Attack in 4 Simple Steps
Migraine Myth #5: Migraine attacks always impair your ability to function.
The symptoms of migraines can range from moderate to severe. At its worst, migraine pain can be excruciating to the point that the only option is to take your medication and wait out the storm in a dark, quiet room. The fact that you are able to withstand head pain while running errands, working at the computer or trying to relax doesn’t contradict the nature of migraines, nor does it mean that you must endure the suffering. Top 10 Headache Symptoms that Point to Migraines
Migraine Myth #6: Migraineurs are usually hypochondriacs.
This is probably the most hurtful notion of all, because it forces the migraine sufferer to bear the burden of proof. Short of carrying around a brain scan imaging report, there’s little one can do prove to a skeptic that your headache symptoms are not imaginary. You can’t see a migraine; the debilitating symptoms are unobservable to all except a qualified neurologist. But the proof is available through multiple medical reports, scientific breakthroughs and social statistics.
Read more about migraine stigma and coping mechanisms:
Migraine Sufferer to World: It’s not just a Headache, People!
10 Clues your should Include in your Headache Diary Today
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
U.S. News Best Hospitals for Neurology
Out of 1,200 hospitals that were reviewed for excellence in treating chronic migraines, the US News has narrowed their list down to the 10 highest ranking hospitals in the fields of neurology and neurosurgery.
1) John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland (410) 955–5000: In addition to placing #1 for migraine treatment and prevention, John Hopkins Hospital also made the national #1 Honor Roll for treatment in ENT, Rheumatology and for gynecology.
2) Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (507) 284–2511: World-famous Mayo Clinic ranked #1 for diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, and kidney disorders; they also have a strong online presence in providing current information about migraine headache symptoms and common headache triggers.
3) Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (617) 726–2000: Massachusetts General Hospital ranked #1 center in Boston for treating migraines, and #1 in the USA for their psychiatry department.
4) New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, New York (212) 746–5454: In addition to neurology, NY-Pres also ranked #4 in psychiatry and kidney disorders.
5) University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco, California (415) 476–1000: The UCLA teaching hospital was voted the #1 hospital for treating migraine pain in all of San Francisco.
6) Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio (216) 444–2200: Cleveland Clinic ranked best hospital in Cleveland for providing migraine headache relief, and #1 US hospital for treating heart disease and conducting heart surgeries.
7) Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California,(310) 825–9111: The UCLA Medical Center was voted the best clinic in Los Angeles for treating chronic migraines, and #2 in the USA for excellence in Geriatrics.
8) St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona (602) 406–3000: This prestigious hospital was also voted the third best neurological center in Phoenix, Arizona.
9) NYU Langone Medical Center, New York (212) 263–7300: The NYU Langone Medical Center made the national Honor Roll for excellence in 14 fields of medicine, including neurology and neurosurgery. Additionally, they placed #2 for best hospital in New York for migraine headache patients.
10) Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Saint Louis, Missouri (314) 747–3000: The Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University made the Honor Roll as #1 best migraine treatment center in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Monday, May 9th, 2011
Millions of Americans suffer from migraine headaches, but that number could be larger than we think. While data collected from the American Migraine Study II suggests that 28 million people in the US suffer migraine symptoms, another study points to a large number of cases where migraine pain was misdiagnosed as sinus headache symptoms.
About 18% of all women are diagnosed with migraines; headache pain is described by 80% of all migraineurs as excruciating, to the point where sufferers are unable to perform even simple daily tasks, interfering with their social lives and job performance. More disturbing, experts believe that less than half of all migraine sufferers will ever be diagnosed with chronic migraines, and an even small number- fewer than 20%- will ever receive prescribed migraine medications for headache relief.
Please read: Migraine Headaches Send Millions to the Emergency Rooms
Some researchers have conducted a study to explain the high rate of misdiagnoses surrounding migraine headaches, pointing to a tendency among patients and some doctors to confuse the symptoms of sinus headaches with those of migraines.
The Sinus, Allergy and Migraine Study (SAMS) was conducted to draw a line of contrast between two headache types: migraines and sinus headaches. Says lead authors, the “majority of those with self-diagnosed sinus headaches have migraines or probable migraines.”
Here are the results of that study:
- Included in this study were 100 individuals who believed themselves to be suffering from sinus headaches.
- Participants were asked to fill out questionnaires designed to deduct the level of their headache pain and impairment caused by their headache symptoms.
- Headache sufferers were also asked if they had any other side effects, such as stuffy nose, watery eyes or flushed skin.
- All in all, 63% of study participants were eventually diagnosed with chronic migraines, after having previously been diagnosed with sinus headaches.
- Scientists attributed the wrong diagnoses to miscommunication between the patients and the doctors, in addition to a tendency among some patients to “self-diagnose” their headache symptoms.
- Triggers which caused migraines included changes in the weather and seasons, allergies and altitude changes.
For more info on headache types, read:
7 Headache Categories:Which Type of Headache do you Have?
Women who get Migraines are also Likely to get This
FYI Living, PubMed Gov
Friday, April 1st, 2011
Earlier this year, CBS reporter Serene Branson made headlines for her incoherent news report during the Grammys–and now it appears another reporter is making headlines for the same gaffe.
During a news segment on Libya earlier last week, Canadian reporter Mark McAllister suddenly began speaking incoherently, and much of his broadcast was indecipherable to the public.
As a safety precaution, paramedics were called to Global News Toronto, where McAllister had originally reported his story. However, he returned back to work soon after, reporting on the federal budget on Wednesday.
As for the cause of this gaffe, even McAllister is not sure what caused it. Doctors are currently working on finding a cause for his gibberish rant. Some experts are concerned that McAllister may have suffered from a complex migraine, the same condition that caused Branson to speak incoherently earlier this year.
According to David Dodick, M.D., a neurologist for the Mayo Clinic, it is not uncommon for people to have difficulty speaking during a complex migraine attack. People suffering from complex migraines may also experience a sudden loss in vision and weakness, symptoms that often mimic a stroke. It is important to note that complex migraines are not as life threatening as strokes, however, though they can debilitate people for hours at a time.
Though McAllister says he is not sure what caused his sudden speech problem, his symptoms are strikingly similar to a complex migraine, and many people believe he did experience one on air. Serene Branson, the reporter who originally brought attention to this condition, has kept mum in light of these recent events.
About Complex Migraines
Complex migraines affect nearly 23 million Americans, and although they affect mostly women, men are also prone to this condition. According to Dr. Marc Schlosberg, M.D. of the Washington Hospital Center, complex migraine differ from normal migraines because its neurological impact lasts longer than the actual pain, which can make it more difficult to deal with.
Oftentimes people aren’t aware of their symptoms until other people alert them–or in McAllister’s case, the symptoms are recorded and made public for everyone to see. It has not been confirmed if he did suffer from a complex migraine attack.
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Migraines are difficult to deal with, especially if you are a child. But Samantha Duncan, a high schooler in Houston, Texas, says she has dealt with the condition since she was 10.
“I started getting migraines when I was about 10 or 11,” said Duncan to ABC News. “And then I started having fainting spells when I was about 12.”
But now Duncan says she is headache-free, all thanks to a life-changing surgery–and a savvy doctor who discovered the real cause of her excruciating migraine attacks
The cause? A previously undiagnosed heart defect, called atrial septal defect. During a routine hospital visit, Dr. Mohammed Numan, M.D. of the Utah Health Children’s Memorial Hospital diagnosed it, after learning about her medical history of migraines.
This discovery, unknowingly enough, has saved Duncan from a world of lifelong migraine pain. Numan scheduled surgery shortly after the diagnosis to fix the defect, and she has not experienced a single migraine since the operation.
Duncan is not the only person to suffer from heart-induced migraines either. Numan says that fixing this defect has reduced migraine pain in up to 70 percent of his patients. That’s a high statistic, considering some migraine medications are 50 percent effective for simply reducing migraine attacks–there isn’t a single drug that can prevent all migraines.
Atrial septal defect rarely causes symptoms until midlife. Unlike strokes, however, atrial septal defects are serious–if left untreated, it could lead to serious complications, such as heart failure, pulmonary hypertension or stroke. ASD is a congenital heart defect, meaning the person is born with it.
Migraines are not a common symptom of this heart defect. People who do experience symptoms are more likely to have trouble breathing and run out of breath quickly. Some may even experience reoccurring respiratory infections. In adulthood, people may feel their heartbeat even when they’re not anxious or exercising.
Numan says that migraines can be caused by this condition, making it far more important for people to seek medical help if they suffer from chronic migraines. Oftentimes another condition may be triggering these attacks, such as atrial septal defect.
Source: ABC 13
Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Helen Carroll, a 20 year migraine sufferer, had gone to extreme lengths to cure her condition. “I even endured steroid injections into the back of my head,” said Carroll. Yet after years of therapy and medications, nothing was able to satiate her excruciating migraines.
But now Carroll claims she hasn’t experienced a single migraine in two years, all thanks to a new therapy program called Resolution Magic, a set of CDs containing mental exercises designed to help people overcome physical and mental pain.
“I started the treatment by listening to a CD of Roberts talking me through a special mental exercise, designed to teach the subconscious a new sequence, one that leads back to good health,” says Carroll. “The gaps between migraines grew longer – first a month, then three, then six. The intensity and duration also reduced with each attack.”
Amazingly enough, Carroll has been able to “wish away” her migraines for over two years–a sort of pseudo-mind science that has experts baffled. But the creator behind Resolution Magic, a former migraine sufferer, claims migraine relief really is that simple.
So how does Resolution Magic work? According to Olivia Roberts, inventor of Revolution Magic, it works by retraining the mind through a number of mental exercises, which helps the mind better respond to pain when it arises. For migraine sufferers, this can allow them to stop their migraine pain when it begins–some claim it’s even more effective than your typical over-the-counter pain medication.
Naturally, health experts are skeptical of Carroll’s claims, crediting her success to the “placebo” effect. Others are concerned that people may opt for this program instead of taking life-saving medications.
But with migraines rates on the rise, many people are looking for better alternatives to pain relief–and for some, that may be Resolution Magic.
About Resolution Magic
Resolution Magic is a set of therapy CDs designed to help people over mental and physical problems that may be affecting their quality of life. The founder of Resolution Magic originally used the system to cure her migraines. In the United Kingdom, the program costs £55 plus an additional £47 per month. A book about this treatment is slated for release later this year.
Source: “Mind Over Matter Cured My Migraine” (Helen Carroll, London Evening Standard)
Monday, March 28th, 2011
Suffer from migraines? It appears they may be on the rise–and researchers aren’t sure why.
According to a recent study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), migraine rates have increased by 1 percent in Norway since the mid 1990s, with the biggest increases seen in people between ages 20 to 50. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be a specific cause for the increase in these rates.
Researchers also say that this small increase may actually account for an estimated 5 million new migraine cases in Europe–and that’s significant.
Some health experts believe the increase in these rates may be due to better education about the condition. Since the 1990s, several health organizations have helped raise awareness of this condition, and more people now are aware of what constitutes these types of headaches. In the 2000s, actress Marcia Cross also helped raise awareness of migraines after going public about her battle with the condition.
There is also the possibility that more people are seeking medical treatment for their condition, which may account for the rise in migraine diagnoses. With more and more medications becoming available to treat and prevent migraines, more people are willing to seek help for their condition.
Still, these rates are increasing, which are drawing concerns from doctors.
Suffering from migraines too? There are several easy ways you can reduce their frequency:
1. Watch out for trigger foods. Chocolate, foods containing MSG or gluten products are common food triggers. Oftentimes people with food sensitivities also suffer from constant migraine headaches.
2. Keep hydrated. Being dehydrated can trigger migraines, so make sure to drink up. Consume at least eight full glasses of water per day to stay hydrated, while avoiding dehydrating beverages, such as soda or coffee.
3. Get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can trigger migraine attacks. If you have trouble getting enough sleep, talk to your doctor–you may be suffering from insomnia. Certain herbs or pills can make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep.
Although these rates are increasing, you don’t have to be a statistic: be proactive about your migraine risk!
Image credit: sxc.hu/channah
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
It’s a scary statistic: nearly 28 million Americans suffer from chronic migraines. Yet according to a new report, only 71 percent reported that drugs did not lessen their condition–in fact, many complained these drugs contained too many side effects.
But Dallas neurologist Johnathan Walker, M.D. claims that neurofeedback may be far more effective for treating migraine pain, eliminating the need for drugs to treat migraines.
According to Walker, whose findings were recently published in the journal Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, people with chronic migraines experience a specific type of brain activation pattern, which may be the cause of these frequent migraines. Walker tested his findings–and his new neurofeedback technology–on 46 patients who had trouble controlling their migraines.
54 percent of the patients completely eliminated their migraines while on Walker’s therapy. No drugs were used during testing.
Furthermore, 39 percent reported more than a 50 percent reduction in migraine frequency–statistics that may even beat the most effective migraine drugs. While further testing is needed–the study was only conducted on a handful of people–these results are promising for migraneurs who want an alternative to drugs.
Because of the nature of Walker’s treatment, no serious side effects were reported. It also appeared to be safe for most individuals.
The safety of migraine drugs is under constant debate. In March 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Topamax, an epilepsy drug used to treat migraines, was shown to cause non-life threatening birth defects. Earlier in 2011, an Alabama man claimed that a migraine drug caused him to panic, triggering him to shoot a police officer during a routine traffic stop. His claim is now being used as a defense during his murder trial, considered to be one of the first migraine defenses used in the United States.
This alternative could allow people to receive migraine treatment without needing to take drugs, which may contain a range of unwanted side effects. Some of these drugs could also interact with other drugs or health conditions, making it impossible for some people to take them safely.
While it is unclear when this treatment will become available, it may be possible that this treatment will be used in the near future to replace migraine drugs.
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Many people don’t know how migraines affect children–and this fact alone may be why school district officials in Texas recently suspended one of its students.
According to The Daily News, school district officials in Texas City, Texas reportedly suspended 12-year-old Aliah Rowe after complaints of a headache and upset stomach. A sheriff later claimed that Rowe was under the influence of a drug, though he did not say what it was, or if he had determined what it was.
Due to these allegations, Rowe was suspended and ordered to spend 30 days in an alternative learning campus. She was also issued a citation.
However, testing done on Rowe the same day revealed she had no known substances in her urine or blood. Later tests also revealed she was suffering from adolescent migraines, not the effects of a controlled substance.
Adolescent migraines are not uncommon. Statistics show at least 10 percent of children in the United States currently suffer from chronic migraines. 20 percent of these children have experienced these attacks since the age of 5.
Until March 15, the school district had denied appeal requests from Rowe’s mother, Cynthia Rowe, who claimed they had wrongly accused her daughter of using drugs or alcohol. Now the school district board has reversed its decision, citing “new information” as its sole reason. Many believe The Daily News’s coverage of the story led to the reversal, though the school district board has not indicated this to be true.
About Adolescent Migraines
In children, migraines may often mimic the signs of drug or alcohol use. Children may report feeling dizzy, sweaty, confused or nauseous, which are common signs of an adolescent migraine. Oftentimes it may be preceded by an aura phase, which can cause dizziness, vertigo, unusual prickling or burning sensations and agitation. It is not uncommon for children who abuse drugs to also experience these symptoms.
Education about adolescent migraines could potentially prevent future children from being accused of drug or alcohol use. Educational programs taught in school to teachers and students could help clear up several misconceptions about this condition. Many people assume migraines only affect adults, when in fact migraines are both an adolescent and adult condition. They may present different symptoms in different age groups, however.
Thursday, March 10th, 2011
Can the side effects of a migraine medication make you commit murder? One Alabama man, now accused of killing a police officer, claims it did.
According to police reports, Bart Wayne Johnson killed officer Philip David in December 2009, though his intentions were not clear during the shooting. Now his defense attorney claims that sleep deprivation and the side effects of a migraine medication drove him to murder the cop.
Johnson, a pharmacist, reportedly killed the cop during a routine traffic stop. His defense attorney claims the migraine medication caused him to panic.
There has never been any scientific proof that anxiety can cause people to commit murder.
Suffering from insomnia and migraines is not uncommon. According to Todd Smitherman, a University of Mississippi professor, at least 75 percent of people who have chronic migraines also suffer from insomnia — either chronically or occasionally. The University of Mississippi recently received a grant from The Migraine Research Foundation to study the connection between insomnia and migraines.
Unfortunately, this funding may come too late for Johnson, who faces death if his migraine defense does not convince jurors in Alabama. Although sleep deprivation has been used in similar cases, this migraine defense is new–many people aren’t convinced it’s enough to set the former pharmacist free.
According to Cornell University, the insanity defense can help result in a no guilty ruling, but only if proven with clear evidence. This may not be the case for Johnson, who fled the scene following the shooting. This could suggest that Johnson knew what he did was wrong — people who are legally insane would not be able to make this distinction.
On the other hand, the shooting was allegedly not planned, which is common in murders carried out by people deemed legally insane.
Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic states that the most common side effects associated with migraine medications are dizziness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea — not anxiety or panic.
However, Topamax — a preventative migraine medication — can actually worsen anxiety and cause a person to act violently or impulsively. It is not clear which medication Johnson was taking prior to the murder.
Regardless of the outcome, migraine medications are now considered a legal defense in murder trials.