Researchers have identified the cause of some types of unbearable migraine headaches, by observing activity in the hypothalamus region of the brain in sufferers undergoing a migraine attack.
The team of scientist says that their discovery may lead to new treatments for migraine.
It was suspected for long that the hypothalamus regulates physiological responses to factors known to trigger headaches, such as hunger.
Contrary to popular belief migraine is not just a specific brain disorder, but it is a series of systems that go wrong.
The study was carried out by a team of researchers at Rangueil Hospital and was led by Dr Marie Denuelle.
The researchers compared functional activity within the brain using a technique called Positron Emission Tomography (PET) on seven patients with migraine without aura, the most common type of migraine.
Earlier, activation in the brain stem and midbrain, and a thickening in some areas of the cortex were seen in migraine sufferers, however, the new study has perhaps noticed a more detailed pathogenesis of the condition.
"When you induce the attack you miss the hypothalamic activation. We suspect the hypothalamus may play a role in the start of the migraine attack. But to prove it we would need to do similar study before the start of an attack," BBC quoted Dr. Denuelle, as saying.
"It has been suggested for many years that the hypothalamus is involved in the early stages of migraine attacks. But there are other factors involved in the early generation of headache," the report quoted Dr Andrew Dowson, director of headache services at Kings College Hospital, London, as saying.
The research is featured in the journal Headache.