Discovery of potential biomarker for migraine in the blood
Episodic migraine is a condition which affects a lot of people, but it is still poorly understood. A team of researchers believe that they have discovered a new biomarker for episodic migraine in the blood.
It is said that the study published in Neurology, could have implications for the diagnosis and treatment of episodic migraine, if they are supported by research.
According to Dr. B. Lee Peterlin, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD "While more research is needed to confirm these initial findings, the possibility of discovering a new biomarker for migraine is exciting."
The episodic migraine is a headache disorder, in which a person experience migraine for weeks or months i.e. less than 15 headaches days. In contrary, people with chronic migraine experience 15 or more headache days per month. People with migraine may have associated depression, anxiety, fatigue and disorders of sleep. The American Migraine Foundation has estimate that migraines cost the US more than $20 billion each year in medical and indirect expenses.
To treat or prevent this debilitating condition, researchers have to learn more about its cause and mechanisms, which is not properly understood, so it gives an opportunity to carry out trials on this new interventions.
Total ceramide levels linked with risk of episodic migraine
Neurological examinations were performed on 52 women with episodic migraine, who underwent an average 5.6 headache days per month. Also, 36 women with no headaches as a group of control participants were examined.
Researchers took the blood samples and measured the body mass index, These samples were scrutinized for a particular group of lipids known as ceramides which aids to control an inflammation in brain. The total ceramide levels in 52 women group were decreased as compared to 36 women control group.
On an average, 6000 nanograms per milliliter was found in episodic migraines participants and approx. 10500 nanograms per milliliter was noticed in the control group. The total risk of developing migraine is decreased when the total level of ceramide is increased. The investigators also discovered that the risk of migraine is more with two other lipids belonging to type called sphingomyelin. For such lipids, researchers tested 14 participants blood and were able to meticulously anticipate that which blood samples belonged to episodic migraine and control participants.
Many shortcomings may need to be tackled in future studies. All the participants of study were female and nearly all participants experienced headaches along with aura, therefore these findings may not extend to other forms of headache or other demographic groups. Regardless of these limitations, Dr. Karl Ekbom, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, believes that this study could be oustanding if theses findings can be repeated.
"This study is a very important contribution to our understanding of the underpinnings of migraine and may have wide-ranging effects in diagnosing and treating migraine if the results are replicated in further studies," Dr. Karl Ekbom writes in an editorial accompanying the study.