Compared with diseases with high mortality rates, migraine may not seem like a serious illness. But once it attacks, the pain is as unbearable as the Sun Wukong in “Journey to the West” who was cast a tight spell, and the frequent migraines are even more painful. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, 1 in 10 people worldwide suffers from migraines.
Recently, according to a study published in Nature Genetics, researchers analyzed the genomes of 1.3 million people and discovered 44 gene variants related to migraine. This may lead to a new treatment method for migraine, such as the development of drugs that inhibit the proteins encoded by related genes.
In this regard, a reporter from Science and Technology Daily interviewed Dr. Sun Yongan, deputy director and chief physician of the Department of Neurology at Peking University First Hospital. He said: “Migraines may be related to ion channel genes, serotonin metabolism genes, dopamine metabolism genes, vascular disease-related genes, inflammatory factor genes and sex hormone receptor genes, etc., but only some patients’ migraines are caused by gene mutations. . Therefore, this new treatment may only be effective in this subset of migraine patients.”
What state is the brain in when a migraine attacks? “Migraine is a common brain disease, usually limited to the upper half of the skull, including the area above the eyebrow arch, the upper edge of the helix and the external occipital protuberance. It is characterized by moderate to severe unilateral headache attacks, often accompanied by There are symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, phonophobia, photophobia, tearing, yawning and other symptoms.” Sun Yongan said that about one-third of patients are accompanied by aura before or in the early stages of a migraine attack. The most common symptoms are visual, but paresthesia, speech impairment, or both may also occur. If the aura is weakness, it may be a hemiplegic migraine.
Migraine has a high incidence and long course, ranking second in the burden of neurological diseases. Its pathology is mainly related to neurovascular changes. During an attack, the patient’s cranial blood vessels will experience abnormal contraction or expansion, which is an important cause of migraine. In addition, migraine is also associated with lesions of the trigeminal neurovascular complex.
Sun Yongan introduced that there are many causes of migraine, including genetic factors, endocrine and metabolic factors, dietary and drug factors, mental factors, lifestyle or environmental factors, etc. Data show that about 60% of migraine patients have a family history, and the risk of their relatives suffering from migraine is 3-6 times higher than that of the general population. “Affected by genetic factors, if parents have migraine patients, the probability of their children suffering from migraines may be higher.” Sun Yong’an said.
Studies have found that the incidence of migraine in women is significantly higher than that in men. Migraine attacks often occur repeatedly during adolescence and the female menstrual period, and will decrease or stop after pregnancy or menopause. This also suggests that the disease is closely related to endocrine and metabolic factors. In terms of diet and drugs, coffee, strong tea, alcoholic beverages, chocolate containing phenylethylamine, etc. can easily stimulate brain nerves and cause migraines; cheese, hot dogs, bacon and other meats containing nitrite can also, to a certain extent, May aggravate patient’s symptoms.
Currently, the underlying cause of migraine is unknown. In recent years, the vascular nerve compression theory believes that the cause of migraine is that blood vessels compress nerves to form pressure points, which in turn produces adhesions. When affected by various external triggering factors, the pressure point may release certain pain transmitters to stimulate the nerves, thereby causing pain.
For the treatment of migraine, the main clinical purpose is to control headache symptoms. Sun Yongan introduced that during the migraine attack period, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) alone may be effective for mild to moderate patients. If it is ineffective, migraine-specific drugs can be used. “The most effective way to prevent migraines is to maintain good living habits. Maintain a regular schedule, adequate sleep, a good attitude, avoid excessive fatigue, mental tension, excessive pressure, insomnia and mood swings, and also quit smoking and drinking.” Sun Yongan said that the prognosis for most migraine patients is good, and migraines may gradually resolve with age. Some patients will no longer have migraine attacks when they are 60-70 years old.