The best places in the world to get the latest information on headache research are the journals Headache, Cephalalgia (Latin for “headache”), then maybe the Green Journal of Neurology and the NIH (which can be found on the Internet and I’ve linked in here a few months ago). It is unfortunate that most information about headache, which patients have access to, comes from the media or from health care sources with no training in headache.
The Headache Journal came out today and I’ve read it and wanted to give a few highlights of the latest research.
1) A review of several studies shows that 1:4 women will suffer from migraine at one point with a peak at early to middle adulthood and declines after that. Migraine is significantly disabling. The many studies done are consistent in those findings.
2) Nerve blocks around the head may be useful in some headache patients
3) There is a lot of chatter on the Internet about using hallucinogenics for migraine treatment, including cannabinoids. There is some history to the research but no scientific data thus support it as a being helpful. Good studies need to be done.
4) Complementary and Alternative Medicine is widely used by headache sufferers. While there is less scientific evidence supporting these modalities, it was found that higher educated people use them more than uneducated people and possibly due to economic reasons.
5) Faty, anti-inflammatory markers are higher in headache sufferers. No clear indication what this means yet.
6) Occipital headaches sometimes treated with lipostructure (plastic surgery technique of depositing fat beneath the skin to fill out wrinkles but in this case put around the occipital nerve to decrease pressure on it).
7) While, until this date, there is NO scientific evidence of allergies, including food allergies causing headaches, this study looked at people with blood tests (IgG) for allergies to food in patients with both IBS and migraine and then eliminating those foods. In many of the patients both IBS and headache symptoms improved.
8) Migraine patients in Taiwan have far higher health care cost than people without migraine (I guess I would say duh).
9) Some evidence that infant colic might be a marker for developing migraine later in life.
10) Obesity has often been claimed to be a co morbidity with migraine. This study showed no relationship between obesity and migraine. There is evidence from previous studies that obesity is more closely related to chronic migraine and that might be true. So if a doctor ever tells you that you have bad headaches because you are fat (their words not mine) they don’t have a scientific leg to stand on at this point.
11) There is no relationship between migraine and dementia (at this point).