New Series: What I Learned About Migraines Today

Many excellent scientists and migraine advocates are working together to try and find answers about this disease. There are solutions out there, and some are rapidly gaining credibility. New ideas and research results are being reported every single day.

Since I dedicated myself to finding solutions that actually work, I’ve been learning so much about migraines that it’s hard to keep track of it all. I follow the migraine blogs, track down research papers, read the latest books, and try to find connections between diverse areas of study. Rather than bury all this valuable information in my various paper and electronic notebooks, I’ve decided it’s time to start posting it here.

So I’m going to try something new.

For the next 30 days, I’m committed to posting about what I’ve learned about migraines each day. These will be brief, stream-of-consciousness articles that report on the most interesting thing I picked up from my studies that day.

My goals for this project are:

  1. To document and organize the most useful information I have come across;
  2. To provide a platform where migraineurs can learn about different areas of migraine research;
  3. To clarify my unconventional thought process about this disease;
  4. To be more reliable about providing valuable content for the blog.

We’ll see how it goes. I am doing the research every day, and I hope that adopting a new format will help me get these ideas down in writing and out into the world. If this works out I intend to keep the series going indefinitely.

What I Learned About Migraines Today

We’re well aware that migraines are different for everyone, and I’m so pleased to find out that migraine researchers are actually pursuing the idea that migraine isn’t just one disease.

Although that seems obvious to me, so many of the “facts” I read about migraine make me wonder if scientists have figured it out yet. Apparently some have.

We hear so often that “migraine is a genetic neurological disease.” This statement is frustrating for me because it infers that (a) the brain is the source of the problem, and (b) our only hope is waiting until scientists figure out how to “fix” our genes. I don’t believe either of those things are true.

This lovely article I read today on Headache and Migraine News showed me that genetic research is on the right track. The post reflects on an interview Professor Lyn Griffiths, who reports that three different types of genes have been found to contribute to migraine: genes related to neurotransmitters, hormones, and the vascular system.

That is interesting in and of itself: Migraines can be caused by irregularities in the operation of your neurons, hormones, or blood vessels.

The article goes on to discuss what that means in terms of finding a cure for migraines (this is not a direct quote from Professor Griffiths):

What if you could get a DNA test, and that test would tell you which type of migraine you had?

Maybe a genetic problem could be repaired. But more likely, an extra support could be added to the foundation.

Let’s say this set of genetic factors leads to the specific type of migraine you have – because the factors cause a drop in a certain vitamin in your system. A simple vitamin supplement could completely erase your migraine attacks. Or – yes – even a custom medication. Or maybe even a certain exercise.

To me, this is what genetic research should be about — helping us understand why our bodies work the way they do.

While we’re still a long way from this kind of solution, it is such a relief to learn that genetic research is giving us results that don’t necessarily mean we need expensive drugs or medical procedures to cure our migraines.

My perspective on the genetics of migraine has totally shifted today, and I’m excited to see what kind of solutions the future will bring!


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