ScienceDaily (May 17, 2012) — The latest genetic and biological research shows that migraine is a neurological, not vascular, disorder and both acute and preventive treatments being developed target peripheral and central nervous systems, according to a prominent migraine expert addressing the American Pain Society (APS) on May 17.
Migraine is one of the most prevalent and debilitating medical conditions and afflicts an estimated 10 percent of the world’s population. In the United States, the Institute of Medicine recently reported that more than 100 million Americans have chronic pain and some 40 million have migraine. Current acute migraine medications were developed to constrict cerebral blood vessels based on the prevailing concept that migraine is a vascular headache disorder.
David Dodick, MD, professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, explained in his plenary session talk that triptan medications used to treat migraine patients are designed to constrict blood vessels, which for centuries were believed to cause migraine. “While migraine research has been massively underfunded and the disorder often is clinically dismissed as a ‘headache,’ its genetic and biological basis is increasingly coming into focus as the result of considerable scientific advances over the past two decades,” said Dodick. “Today we know that migraine is a largely inherited disorder characterized by physiological changes in the brain, and, if attacks occur with high frequency, structural alterations in the brain.”
Migraine sufferers experience diminished quality of life as well as impaired physical, social and occupational functioning. Dodick believes that advances in migraine knowledge have led to the development of promising new and selective compounds and therapies for both acute and preventive treatment of migraines. “This is a neurologic disease with systemic implications,” said Dodick. >>>MORE