The Migraine-Body Clock Connection: New Genetic Clues


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If you’re one of the 36 million Americans who suffer from migraine headaches, you probably already know that if your sleep routine is thrown off, you’re asking for head-whanging trouble.

New research suggests that the migraine-sleep connection goes far deeper than that, and revolves around the brain’s hypothalamus, which helps control our body clocks among other functions.

The Dana Foundation, which supports brain research, has just posted an intriguing scientific yarn about how insights gained from a family of extreme “morning larks” — as in, up at 4:30 every morning, asleep by 7:30 at night — may help point to a better understanding of migraine that could lead to better treatments. Read the full story here. The crux:

The spark of insight that brought the two fields together occurred recently when migraine researcher Robert Shapiro realized that his patient, who was seeing him for migraine with aura, was a member of an extended Vermont family of extreme morning larks. Continue reading

Exploring The Link Between Exercise And Migraine

By Judy Foreman
Guest Contributor

A few weeks ago, on an otherwise uneventful Sunday afternoon, I got an urgent call on my cell phone from my daughter-in-law, Robin, a vigorous 42-year-old. She was calling from her health club, barely “10 minutes into a decent run” on the treadmill

Suddenly, she told me, she had gotten a “hole” in her vision in her right eye, and zig-zaggy lines like lightening when she closed her eye, a predictable sign, she knew from past experience, that a migraine headache was about to start.



An exercise-induced migraine was not a total surprise for Robin, who has had about a dozen such episodes over the years. “It does make me scared to exercise for a few days,” she told me later. “But then I just get on with my life. I only get four or five migraines a year, so it’s not as scary for me as for some people.”

For years, exercise has been believed to be a significant “trigger” for migraines, along with other triggers, or premonitory symptoms, such as food cravings, being very tired, mood changes, increased urges to urinate, muscle aches, stuffy noses – all part of what Dr. Carolyn Bernstein, a neurologist and migraine specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center calls the “build up of what’s changing in the brain before migraine pain gets going.”

But in a recent study in the journal Neurology, researchers explored the exercise-migraine link in a novel way. Continue reading