In Search Of Migraine Treatments, Genetic Researchers Trace Variations Through Families
Scientists studying families with migraines find evidence that hundreds of genetic variants can determine the symptoms and severity of the debilitating disease. In other public health news today: brain implants, the CDC's disease detective program, brain trauma, breast cancer and menopause.
Migraines Run In Families. A New Genetic Exploration Zooms In On How
The throbbing, pulsing pain of a migraine headache is unmistakable, making life miserable at least several times a month for about 1 in 5 adults in the developed world. Some types include aura, a disturbance in vision that comes like a dreaded warning before the headache hits. When it does, exposure to light and sound can be unbearable. Nausea and vomiting are possible, too. Like many other common diseases, migraines run in families, but tracing exactly how these sometimes debilitating headaches pass from parents to children has been challenging. New research published Thursday in Neuron adds genetic detail to the growing body of evidence that migraines are caused by hundreds of common genetic variants that influence when migraines start, how severe they are, and whether family members are also affected. (Cooney, 5/3)
The New York Times:
Lightning Struck Her Home. Then Her Brain Implant Stopped Working.
One stormy afternoon in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, thunder rolled, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky, and the television and air conditioner went dark in the apartment of a woman with electrodes implanted in her brain. Lightning had struck the building. But the appliances were not the only things affected. After about an hour, the woman, who had had the electrodes put in five years before to help with debilitating muscle spasms in her neck, noticed her symptoms coming back. (Greenwood, 5/3)
Iowa Public Radio:
When A Mystery Outbreak Strikes, Who You Gonna Call?
The CDC's disease detective program, the Epidemic Intelligence Service, is a two-year post-graduate training program — sort of a rapid response force of disease geeks. In addition to working on the early stages of the investigation from Atlanta, Patel flew to Liberia to help map the spread of the disease and write a report on the outbreak. (Beaubien, 5/4)
The New York Times:
The Tragic Diagnosis They Already Knew: Their Brother Died With C.T.E.
To the family of the former N.H.L. player Jeff Parker, the posthumous diagnosis of C.T.E., or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, was the predictable conclusion. All those hits to the head, including that final one that knocked him out of the game altogether, and all those subsequent years of struggle? In the final, difficult years before Parker’s death last September at age 53, the family figured that it must be C.T.E. “It just makes me sad,” John Parker, Jeff’s younger brother, said through tears. “It doesn’t bring him back. It just makes you feel sad, that he was living with this, and it’s a thing. It’s a real thing.” (Branch, 5/3)
Los Angeles Times:
Looking For Clues About The Dangerous Breast Cancers That Turn Up Between Mammograms
With any luck, a screening mammogram that shows no sign of breast cancer means you won't have to think about the disease until it's time for your next exam. But about 15% of breast cancers turn up in that interval between regular screenings. These cases are troubling — and not just because the mammogram failed to catch the tumor before it had grown large enough to cause symptoms. (Kaplan, 5/3)
The New York Times:
Eating Fish And Legumes Tied To A Later Menopause
A diet rich in fish and vegetables may delay the onset of menopause, a new study has found. British researchers used health and behavioral data on 9,027 women ages 40 to 65, and followed them for four years. They assessed their diet using a detailed 217-item food frequency questionnaire that included information on portion size. Over the course of the study, and after excluding women who were pregnant, used hormone replacement therapy or had surgically induced menopause, there were 914 women who went through menopause naturally. (Bakalar, 5/3)