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Migraine Headaches

Physicians have been aware of migraines for thousands of years but we are still trying to figure out the underlying causes of them. Hippocrates described many of the typical features of migraine and was the first to notice the connection of triggers that might lead to a migraine as early as 300BC.

It was first thought that migraine was due to “humors or vapors” but the concept of swelling of the blood vessels in the brain has been dominate until the last 10 to 20 years when focus has shifted to the neurochemistry of the brain. One family of migraine medicines that has been extremely helpful, called the triptans, binds to the neurotransmitter receptor (5-HT). Another area of ongoing research involves another neurotransmitter (CGRP) that acts as an inflammatory molecule in the brain.

Migraine is a common disorder affecting men and women and all age groups. However, women are affected twice as often as men. Both boys and girls can have migraine but around puberty boys are more likely to outgrow them. For women the incidence increases to about age 45 and then decreases after menopause. Migraines do tend to run in families.

There are lifestyle changes that can help reduce the number of migraines. Medications can help reduce the frequency of migraines and treat individual migraine pain.

Clinical trials evaluate new medications to increase the number of options for migraine patients.

To participate in one of the current migraine studies please select the study on our current studies page and click the Apply Here link. Qualified participants receive clinical study-related procedures at no cost and monetary compensation is provided.

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