Neurology journal’s meta-analysis has shown how Cluster headaches as well as migraines are strongly connected to the internal clock of the body.
A meta-analysis was published in the online edition of Neurology the medical journal from the American Academy of Neurology, migraine and cluster headache are strongly connected to the circadian clock. It is the inner clock which regulates bodily processes. The meta-analysis analyzed all research on cluster headaches and migraine that had aspects of the circadian system.
This includes information about the frequency of headaches throughout the day and throughout the entire year, as well as research on whether genes that are associated in the circadian system are more prevalent for people suffering from these headaches. Researchers also examined studies that focused on cluster headache and migraine, as well as hormones that are linked with the system of circadian rhythm including cortisol, melatonin and.
“The research suggests that both of these conditions are highly circadian at various levels, particularly cluster headaches,” said study author Mark Joseph Burish, MD PhD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in Texas and an active participant in the American Academy of Neurology. “This confirms the significance for the hypothalamusthe brain region which is home to the brain’s main biological clock and its significance in migraine and cluster headache. It also raises the issue of the genetic basis of triggers like sleep disturbances that trigger migraine and serve as cues for the body’s circadian clock.”
For cluster headaches The meta-analysis showed a pattern of headaches that occurred in the course of the day attacks in 71% of sufferers. Attacks peak in the latter hours of evening and into the early hours of the morning. In the course of the year, patients were more prone to attacks in spring and autumn. On a genetic level it was found that cluster headaches were associated with two major circadian genes. Five out of nine genetic factors that enhance the chance of suffering from cluster headaches are associated with the expression pattern of a circadian.
The people with cluster headaches also had higher levels of cortisol and lower levels of melatonin compared to people who didn’t have cluster headache.
The meta-analysis for migraine found a pattern of the circadian rhythm of attacks that affected half of those. The peak of attacks in the day was wide, and spanned from the late morning to the early evening However, there was a low in the circadian rhythm at night, when fewer attacks took place. The migraine was also related to two circadian genes that were essential to migraine, in addition, 110 out of the 168 gene linked with migraine had an expression pattern that was circadian.
The migraine sufferers were less melatonin-rich in their urine than those who do not suffer from migraine. Additionally, the levels of melatonin were less during migraine attacks.
“These findings raise the possibility of using treatments based on the circadian rhythm to treat headache-related conditions,” Burish said. “This may include treatments that are based around the cycle of circadian activitylike taking medicines at specific time of the dayand treatments that result in circadian shifts, which some medications may cause.”
One of the limitations of the study was that the researchers didn’t know about elements that may affect the circadian rhythm including medication, other disorders like bipolar disorder problems with the circadian rhythm, such as working at night. The study was financed through The Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation.
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