Migraine is a very common and painful disease. Every migraine sufferer wishes to find a way to prevent the next attack. Now, a new study may have found light in the end of the tunnel.
Researchers from the University of Maine published a study in “Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain” which sheds light on a new possible common cause and treatment of migraine attacks.
Migraine attacks are known to be caused by certain triggers.
Prof Jonathan M. Borkum, MD, lead author of the study, found that most of the triggers have one thing in common. They create oxidative stress. He reviewed more than 2,000 scientific studies about migraine triggers.
What is oxidative stress?
Certain physiological process in the human body are producing “free radicals”. A free radical is an oxygen containing molecule that has one or more unpaired electrons, making it highly reactive. This can cause certain processes and diseases:
• Atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke
• Parkinson’s disease
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Asperger syndrome
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
What are antioxidants?
The human body has a defense mechanism to deactivate free radicals, antioxidant enzymes. There are many supplements suggesting to be antioxidants as well. However, the use of antioxidants to prevent diseases is controversial because of possible side effects.
Back to the study
The hypothesis is that most migraine triggers cause oxidative stress. Researchers found out that oxidative stress activates a protein called TRPA1. If this protein is activate nerve cells are sending pain signals to the brain. This leads to a migraine attack.
These findings could lead to a completely new angle in the treatment of migraine. If it is possible to stop the oxidative stress process, migraine attacks could be prevented. Antioxidants are reducing the oxidative stress but the use is controversially discussed. See above.