For episodic migraine that is defined as having less than 15 headaches per month, a new blood biomarker has been identified by researchers.
The findings could lead to better diagnosis and treatments for migraine. "While more research is needed to confirm these initial findings, the possibility of discovering a new biomarker for migraine is exciting," said study author B. Lee Peterlin from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, US.
For the study, 52 women with episodic migraine and 36 women who did not have any headaches underwent a neurologic exam, had their body mass index measured and gave blood samples.
The study found that the total levels of the lipids called ceramides decreased in women with episodic migraine as compared to those women without any headache disorders.
Women with migraine had approximately 6,000 nanograms per milliliter of total ceramides in their blood, compared to women without headache who had about 10,500 nanograms per milliliter.
Every standard deviation increase in total ceramide levels was associated with over a 92-percent lower risk of having migraine.
Additionally, and in contrast to the ceramides, two other types of lipids, called sphingomyelin, were associated with a 2.5 times greater risk of migraine with every standard deviation increase in their levels.
The findings appeared in the online issue of the journal Neurology