- Higher concentrations of sodium in
cerebrospinal fluid can help diagnose a migraine
- Cerebral sodium MRI can be used as
a technique help in the diagnosis and understanding of migraines
- Migraine affects about 18 percent
of women and 6 percent of men.
People with migraine have higher
concentrations of sodium in their cerebrospinal fluid compared to people
without the condition, finds a study conducted by a team of radiologists. The
team used a technique called cerebral sodium MRI
for the study.
often misdiagnosed with other headache disorders. Thus, scientists have been
working on to develop an effective diagnostic tool for migraine. "It would
be helpful to have a diagnostic tool supporting or even diagnosing migraine and
differentiating migraine from all other types of headaches," said study
author Melissa Meyer, M.D., radiology resident at the Institute of Clinical
Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Mannheim and Heidelberg
University in Heidelberg, Germany.
Cerebral Sodium MRI
The research team explored a magnetic
resonance technique called cerebral sodium MRI to diagnose and understand
migraine attacks. Studies have shown that sodium plays an important role in the
‘In migraine patients, sodium concentrations were significantly higher in the brains cerebrospinal fluid than the healthy population.’
The team recruited 12 women with a mean age
of 34, who had been clinically evaluated for migraine. The participants filled
out a questionnaire on migraine regarding its length, intensity, frequency and
accompanying auras. The study also involved a control group of 12 healthy women
of similar age.
Participants in both the groups underwent
cerebral sodium MRI. The team analyzed the sodium concentrations of migraine
patients and healthy controls. There were no statistical differences between
the two groups for sodium concentrations in the gray and white matter, brain
stem, and cerebellum. However, they found a significant difference in sodium
concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid (fluid that surrounds the brain and
Cerebrospinal fluid act as a cushion for the brain and also
ensures chemical stability for proper brain function.
The findings of the study might facilitate
the challenging diagnosis of a migraine. The research team hopes to conduct
future studies to learn more about the link between migraines and higher sodium
"As this was an exploratory study, we
plan to examine more patients, preferably during or shortly after a migraine
attack, for further validation," said Dr Meyer.
The findings of the study were presented at
the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
A migraine is
one of the most common headache disorders, headache disorders
cause severe throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. The condition is
accompanied by nausea, vomiting, vision changes and extreme sensitivity to
light and sound.
Diagnosis of a migraine is challenging
because the characteristics of migraines and the types of attacks vary widely
among patients. Most of the patients with migraine are undiagnosed and
untreated. But, in contrast, some patients are treated with migraine
medications even though they suffer from a different type of a headache.
The symptoms of a migraine may vary from
person to person and the attacks differ in length and frequency.
Triggers of A migraine
Some of the common triggers of a migraine
are hormonal changes, stress, depression, anxiety, medications, lack of
sleep, alcohol, loud noises, second-hand smoke, and bright lights. Diet-related
triggers for a migraine are caffeine, chocolate, cheese, citrus fruits, and
processed foods that contain the additive tyramine.
Facts on Migraine
- Migraine affects about 18 percent
of women and 6 percent of men
- A migraine attack may last from
four to 72 hours
- Migraine can have an impact on
work, family and social lives
- About 70 to 90% of the people experience
migraine without aura
- Migraine with aura is common which
has additional neurological symptoms
- A headache for more than 15 days
could be a chronic migraine
- Migraine with brainstem aura is a
- A hemiplegic migraine involves
temporary weakness on one side of the body
- Abdominal migraine is often seen
- About Migraine - (https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/migraine-what-is-it/more-than-just-a-headache/)