In a small, preliminary study of regular migraine sufferers, scientists have found that measuring a fat-derived protein called adiponectin (ADP) before and after migraine treatment can accurately reveal which headache victims felt pain relief.
A report on the study of people experiencing two to 12 migraine headaches per month, led by researchers at Johns Hopkins, is published in the March issue of the journal Headache.
"This study takes the first steps in identifying a potential biomarker for migraine that predicts treatment response and, we hope, can one day be used as a target for developing new and better migraine therapies," says study leader B. Lee Peterlin, D.O., an associate professor of neurology and director of headache research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She cautioned that larger, confirmatory studies are needed for that to happen.
Experts estimate that roughly 36 million Americans, or 12 percent of the population, suffer from debilitating migraine headaches that last four hours or longer. Migraines are defined as headaches with at least two of four special characteristics: unilateral or one-side-of-the-head occurrence; moderately to severely painful; aggravated by routine activity and of a pounding or throbbing nature. Sufferers generally also feel nauseated or are sensitive to light and sound. Women are three times as likely to get migraines as men.
Such complicated diagnostic criteria mean that diagnosis is tricky, a fact driving efforts, Peterlin says, to find better diagnostic tools.
For the study, Peterlin and her colleagues collected blood from 20 women who visited three headache clinics between December 2009 and January 2012 during an acute migraine attack. Blood was taken before treatment with either sumatriptan/naproxen sodium (a drug routinely given to people with migraines) or a placebo. The investigators re-drew blood at 30, 60 and 120 minutes after the study d
|Contact: Stephanie Desmon|
Johns Hopkins Medicine