Study Finds Migraines Lead to Permenant Brain Structure Impairments
Written by Alyssa Clark
Just when you think that migraines can’t get any worse— they do.
A recent study published in the journal of Neurology claims that migraines can be leading, permanent triggers to causing negative affects to long-term brain structure and an increase of brain lesions. The study’s primary authors looked at MRI brains scans of patients with common migraines or migraines with aura, in order to best evaluate the patients in the most fair and equal way.
According to the World Health Organization, “In the U.S. more than 37 million people suffer from migraines. Some migraine studies estimate that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. population have migraines, and 2-3 million migraine suffers are chronic.” The basic demographic for migraine or migraine aura suffers is: women (18 percent of women compared to 6 percent of men), people between the ages of 35 and 55, in lowest income groups and Caucasian people.
The scans of people with migraines or migraine aura, migraine aura is when people experience migraine symptoms before the full migraine occurs, were compared to scans of those not experiencing any migraines or migraine related symptoms to track brain changes and different lesions.
Concerned physicians and healthcare providers have long suspected a possible connection between these two neurologically-related problems, and are committed to understanding what they can do better in order to help patients suffering from these difficult ailments.
The research was done at the University of Denmark, where scientists analyzed six population-based studies and 13 clinical-based studies to diagnose if there was a significant link between migraines and brain lesions, brain volume changes or silent abnormalities. The study reported that, “those who had migraines with aura showed a 68% increased risk of white matter brain lesions, compared with those who did not have migraines”.
Symptoms of migraines or migraine aura should not be ignored, and anyone experiencing these symptoms should be encouraged to and receive medical attention in order to prevent any long-term brain lesions from occurring. Symptoms can vary, but usually include: throbbing pulsating pain, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, nausea, pain on one side, vision changes or blurred vision, aura and vomiting.
The World Health Organization also conducted a study measuring the amount of work being missed by people plagued with these ailments. The study “estimates the loss of productivity in the U.S. to be between $5.6 billion to $17.2 billion per year because of missed work. The average migraine sufferer misses two days of work per year. Some who suffer from persistent migraines work during a migraine attack, which they say lowers productivity. It is estimated that migraines are the reason for 36 million days of bed rest, plus 21.5 million days of restricted activity”.
About the Author
Alyssa Clark is the Editor of Healthcare Global
Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.