Scientists have discovered a potential biomarker for migraine in the blood, according to a study.
The researchers performed neurological examinations on a group of 52 women who had been diagnosed with episodic migraine, experiencing an average of 5.6 headache days per month. Alongside them, they also examined 36 women as control participants who did not have headaches.
The experts measured the body mass index (BMI) of each participant and took samples of their blood. The samples were evaluated for a specific group of lipids known as ceramides that have been previously identified to help regulate inflammation in the brain tissues.
The study showed that the total levels of ceramides were decreased in women with episodic migraine as compared to the participants who did not report having headaches. Those with the aforementioned condition had around 6,000 nanograms per milliliter of ceramides in their blood, while those healthy volunteers recorderd about 10,500 nanograms per milliliter of the same biomarker.
As total ceramide levels increased, the risk of developing a migraine decreased. The scientists also found that two other lipids were associated with an increased migraine risk. These lipids belonged to a type called sphingomyelin.
“While more research is needed to confirm these initial findings, the possibility of discovering a new biomarker for migraine is exciting,” said Dr. B. Lee Peterlin, lead researcher from the Johns Hopkins University.
Migraine is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches often accompanied by a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms. Typically the headache lasts from 2 to 72 hours and it affects one half of the head. The pain is pulsating in nature and worsens by physical activity.
Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Approximately 15 percent of the population worldwide is affected by migraines at some point in life. IMAGE/newseveryday.com