There’s been some exciting news in the press this morning for migraine sufferers. Researchers at King’s College Hospital have developed a potential new treatment that looks like it has some promising results.
They used antibodies to alter chemical activity in the brain – the first therapy aimed specifically at migraines. In the study, half of the subjects reported that the number of migraines they experienced in a month reduced by 50%.
The treatment works by targeting a specific chemical in the brain. “Calcitonin gene-related protein”, or CGRP, has been shown to be active both in the pain and in sound- and light-sensitivity of migraines. Researchers have developed antibodies that block the activity of CRGP.
Up until now, treatment for migraines has been based on preventative medication, including epilepsy tablets and botox. But Simon Evans, the chief executive of Migraine Action, points out that these come with side-effects.
“Some doctors give patients a choice of being angry or fat-and-dopey, and the drug they give them depends on their answer,” he said.
- migraine affects around one in seven people worldwide
- it is more prevalent than diabetes, asthma and epilepsy combined
- women are three times more likely to be affected than men
- migraine almost certainly has a genetic basis
- it was once thought to be primarily a disorder of the brain’s blood vessels – it is now known that this is not the case
- headaches are one of the most frequently cited problems for which people seek help through alternative therapies
“Migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger.”
Professor Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology, King’s College London; Director, NIHR-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, King’s College Hospital London; Trustee of The Migraine Trust.