Friday, June 08, 2007

migraine news roundup 34


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We have known for some time that migraines have a hereditary component, as is the situation in my family (on both sides, lucky me!), but researchers at an American Headache Society meeting this week said they suspect there are similarities between the levels of pain experienced by relatives, too.

Model parent: Teen migraines may echo adults'
Kids report more painful headaches if mom and dad suffer them, study finds
While migraine headaches are thought to be inherited, the degree of associated pain varies widely among individuals. The scientists who headed up the new research suggest some of the variability is due to teens modeling their parents’ responses to their own pain.

“We want to know how much of a child’s response to migraine pain is learned and how much is hereditary,” said lead author Ann Pakalnis, a neurologist at Columbus Children’s Hospital and a professor at Ohio State University College of Medicine.



Former NFL quarterback Troy Aikman says migraines run in his family and that he suffers from them. Though some have suggested his migraines may be linked to multiple concussions he experienced in football, Aikman says he has been having migraines since he was a kid.

Aikman Says He's Suffered Migraines Since Childhood
He said the migraines started when he was a child and were probably triggered by his father's smoking. Even today, he said, smoke can bring on the headaches. Though a bigger cause for him seems to be flying, something he has to do more now than when he was playing because he is an analyst for Fox and is frequently required to fly across the country. His sister also suffered from migraines but went to a doctor for treatment at an early age.


In other news from the American Headache Society meeting, researchers are optimistic about the potential of a new migraine treatment medication in development. The drug, known as MK-0974, is scheduled for approval in 2009.

Merck migraine drug shows promise in clinical trial

MK-0974 is an oral calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist that works by blocking transmission of pain signals that lead to migraine headaches. CGRP and its receptors are found in areas of the central and peripheral nervous system and are believed to be involved in transmission of migraine pain.

The 420-patient study tested the drug at three doses against a placebo and an older Merck migraine drug rizatriptan, which is sold under the brand name Maxalt.

In the primary goal of measuring pain reduction from severe or moderate to mild or none two hours after dosing, MK-0974 was statistically significantly better than placebo, researchers said.



A new study shows that in the past 10 years, the attitudes of Americans about depression have undergone significant changes.

10-Year Retrospective Study Shows Progress in American Attitudes About Depression

"Ten years ago, a Mental Health America survey showed that only 38 percent of Americans viewed depression, a serious medical illness, as a health problem versus a sign of a personal weakness," said David L. Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. "Our new survey shows significant progress. Today, nearly three-quarters know that depression is a real health problem. That's an 89% improvement over 10 years. We've come a long way."

While the survey data shows that Americans are much more knowledgeable about the seriousness of mental illnesses, public acceptance of depression and -- even more so for other mental health problems (i.e., bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcohol and drug problems and suicide attempts) -- still lags behind that of other health issues, such as diabetes and cancer.

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