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article imageCan we predict who may suffer from migraines?

By Tim Sandle     Sep 16, 2015 in Science
Baltimore - Migraines are powerful and long-lasting headaches that can seriously affect a person’s quality of life. As a way of predicting whether a migraine is likely to occur, researchers have identified a marker.
The marker (or "biomarker’) can be detected via the blood and it offers clues about a person’s risk in suffering from a migraine. Migraine is a type of chronic neurological disorder. It is characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches often in association with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms.
To identify the marker, scientists examined blood samples from 52 women. Each woman reportedly suffered from episodic migraines (migraines occurring on five or more days each month). As a control, blood samples from 36 women who had never suffered from a migraine were compared.
The analysis found, C-Book reports, that women who suffered from episodic migraines recorded lower levels of a fat termed ceramide (at around 6000 nanograms per millilitre). Higher levels of this type of fat were found in women who did not suffer from migraine. With the control group, the fat levels were in the 10,500 nanograms region.
This led to the basis for a predictive test. By assessing ceramide levels with a new groups, the researchers could accurately predict who was or was about to suffer from a migraine. At this stage it is not known whether the results would be applicable to men. A second limitation is that the variation in ceramide levels correlates with those who suffer from migraines with light sensitivity and who experience auras only.
The test is at the development stage. Should it be successful then a commercial medical kit could be produced to allow certain people who are at risk from migraines to be identified, as well as providing an early warning signal to those who are already identified as sufferers.
The study was carried out at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. The findings are published in the journal Neurology. The research article is titled “Interictal, circulating sphingolipids in women with episodic migraine.”
More about Migraine, Headache, Sickness, biomarker, Blood test
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