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Migraine Headache

Neurological disorder project

Nick O'Meally

on 3 February 2011

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Transcript of Migraine Headache

Migraine Headaches By Nick O'Meally What is A Migraine Headache?
* A migraine is a severe headache that can be recurrent, throbbing, and extremely painful.
* They can last for several hours or even days at a time. Symptoms:
Intense pain (usually on one side of the head)
Sensitivity to light or noise
Blurred vision
Aching muscles

What causes a migraine?
Many doctors agree that it is hard to determine what exactley causes a migraine because....
1. People experience different levels of pain.
2. Studies are limited to human beings.
3. There is no way of telling when they will come and go. Most Commonly accepted Theory:
Many believe that migrains are caused by vasodilation (enlarging blood vessels).
This makes the nerve fibers that coil around the large arteries of the brain release chemicals that cause inflammation, pain, and the artery increase in size. Possible pattern for the way a migraine starts:
A trigger (stress and hunger for example) causes changes in the normal brain patterns.
Serotonin (A chemical that controls dilation and constriction of vessels as well as mood) is released.
This makes the vessels dilate, and release a chemical that causes pain. What part of the nervous system does it affect?
Apart from the head, migraines also affect the Sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system aids in the maintenace of the body when in rest, increasing heart rate, and the body's resources under stress.
When a migraine affects the SNS the victim may feel nausea, and blood circulation may decrease. Who usually gets Migraines?
More than 28 million Americans suffer from migraines.
It is genetic.
Women are much more likely to get a migraine.
- Due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle and from birth control. The Aura:
An aura is a visual disturbance that can take place before a migraine.
It's caused by nerve impulses in the brain.
Up to 30% of people experience them before a migraine. Treatment:
The earliest form of treatment was called treppaning, where a non lethal hole is drilled into the skull.
This is one of the oldest surgical procedures, and dates back to 6500 BCE.
Not practiced anymore for migraines. Skull from the iron age (1800 BCE) Modern treatment:
There is no known cure for migraines.
Over the counter medication like ibuprofen and asprin can help less extreme cases.
Medication is much more useful at the begining of a migraine.
Triptan and ergots medication can be used to constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation.
Midrin can also be used, but not in excess because it is a pain reliever, vessel constricter, and mild sedative.
Most migraines are treated by Neurologist or primary care physicians . A Brief Background:
People have suffered from migraines all throughout history.
The earliest written description of a migraine came from Egypt around 1200 BCE.
Some historical figures who suffered from migraines are Julius Caesar, Napolean, Vincent Van Gogh, and Thomas Jefferson. Sources:
Full transcript