Heightened Brain Connectivity May Explain Light and Sound Sensitivity in Migraineurs

Light Sensitivity

Many migraineurs suffer from light and sound sensitivity, and researchers recently determined they have heightened connectivity between specific areas of the brain. This finding may help in the development of migraine treatments, said lead author Amy R. Tso, MD, of the University of California at San Francisco.

In a study of 15 patients with migraine without aura, researchers used a functional MRI to evaluate the areas of the brain involved in processing visual and auditory information. They found that there was increased connectivity between primary visual and auditory cortices, where visual and auditory information is processed; the pons, which serves as a communication center in the brain; and the anterior insula, a region involved in coordinating responses to matters of emotional importance. Continue Reading

Health Complaints Rose During Recent Recession


googleThe recent recession in the United States impacted individuals’ well-being as well as their finances, according to a recent study.

Health-related Google inquiries, particularly for stress-related ailments, spiked between December, 2008, and December, 2011 — the period frequently described as the Great Recession. Researchers say that during that time, online searches for information on stomach ulcers increased by 228 percent, and headache inquiries followed closely with a 193% increase, translating to an excess of 1.48 and 1.52 million searches for those two ailments alone. Among the top 100 health complaints that were searched, there were more than 200 million queries about health concerns than would be expected. The numbers remained high, ranking considerably above the pre-recession threshold as the economy improved toward the end of 2011. Continue Reading

Panic Disorder and Migraine: Better Understanding the Connection

Physical and mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety, often afflict migraineurs, with current research indicating that panic disorder (PD) is the anxiety disorder most often associated with migraine.

In a review article in the January issue of the journal Headache, Todd Smitherman, PhD, FAHS, from the University of Mississippi, and colleagues explored PD, migraine and the connection between the two to better understand assessment and treatment of affected patients. Continue Reading

Migraine Treatment Benefits the Whole Patient

Treating migraine brings multiple benefits to migraineurs, including improvement of psychological and social problems that frequently accompany the disorder, new research indicates.

In a review of studies published between 2000 and 2010, researchers found that among migraineurs with and without aura, the most common psychosocial difficulties (PSDs) included: fatigue; emotional problems, especially depression and anxiety; difficulties at work, such as decreased efficiency and absences; problematic social functioning and global disability, which encompasses all the psychosocial problems a person experiences because of migraine.  Continue Reading