The Truth Behind Different Migraine Triggers Addressed at Annual Scientific Meeting

The Truth Behind Different Migraine Triggers Addressed at the American Headache Society’s 60th Annual Scientific Meeting

[SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 27, 2018] – At the American Headache Society (AHS)’s 60th Annual Scientific Meeting, leading migraine experts are presenting five clinical studies that look at the connection between many commonly-believed migraine triggers and the onset of migraine. Similar to many other medical conditions, people living with migraine are typically more susceptible to triggers that raise the risk for having a migraine attack, whether it be hormonal fluctuations, environmental stimuli, smells, alcohol, foods or stress. However, not everyone has a clear trigger for migraine attacks. While many people who live with migraine are often quick to point to caffeine and chocolate as his or her trigger, research being presented finds that specific weather variables may play an even larger role.

“We know that migraine and its triggers differ for every person,” said Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, FAHS, AHS Scientific Program Committee Chair, Professor of , King’s College London, University of California, San Francisco, and director, NIHR-Wellcome Trust King’s Clinical Research Facility, King’s College Hospital, London. “These data will hopefully help healthcare providers when evaluating the lifestyle and experiential factors of an individual patient’s life.”

Caffeine as a Potential Trigger or Protector for Migraine Attacks
Investigators used a smartphone and web-based digital platform study to assess the relationship between caffeine and migraine. Individuals with migraine answered questions about suspected migraine triggers, including caffeine. Following daily app utilization for a 90-day period, participants entered details about headaches and factors that may be associated with migraine attack occurrence. Based on statistical analysis, the researchers concluded caffeine is widely suspected as a migraine trigger yet caffeine can actually act as a protector by reducing risk of attack in one out of 13 individuals. Caffeine intake did not increase risk of migraine attack for any individual in this study and no significant association was identified in nearly two thirds of the participants in this study.

Chocolate as a Risk Factor for Migraine Attacks: An Exploration
Researchers conducted a double-blind study to determine how many individuals with migraine suspect chocolate as a trigger, and for how many can an association between chocolate ingestion and time to migraine attack be identified statistically. Individuals with migraine registered to use a smartphone and web-based digital platform for 90 days and answered questions about their suspected triggers, including chocolate and their importance. Although chocolate is widely suspected as a migraine trigger, the results of this study showed that a statistical association was identified in few individuals.

Type of Day as a Risk Factor for Migraine Attacks: An Exploration of Weekend Headache
As studies to date have previously failed to provide scientific evidence that the weekend is a predisposing or triggering factor of headache and/or migraine, this study utilized Curelator Headache® to explore the existence of “weekend headache,” a term associated with the frequency and/or severity of migraine attacks on non-working days. Individuals with migraine registered to use Curelator Headache® over a 90 day period and compared the risk of migraine attack occurring on work days vs. non-work days. Through individual analysis of self-reported patient data, the results of this study showed a minimal association between the day of the week and risk of migraine. Researchers concluded that for almost all subjects in this study, the risk of migraine did not differ on work days compared to days off and holidays. An association between type of day and the occurrence of migraine attacks was observed in very few individuals, either as a trigger (<4%) or a protector <2%).

Weather and its Association with New Onset Headache Days in Persons with Episodic Migraine: An Observational Cohort Study
This retrospective cohort study examined the role of specific combinations of weather variables and risk of migraine. Study participants were required to have a diagnosis of episodic migraine and recorded activity for ≥ 60 days. Hourly measurements of barometric pressure, dry bulb temperature, relative humidity and wind speed were obtained from the archives of the National Climatic Data Center. Researchers concluded specific combinations of weather variables were predictive of days with high risk of new onset headache. Barometric pressure and its changes were the most important variables in the statistical models.

About Migraine
Migraine is a major disabling neurological disease that affects more than over 37 million men, women and children in the United States. The disease impacts one in four households, one in five women, one in 16 men and one in 11 children in the United States. Globally, migraine is the sixth highest cause of years of life lost due to disability. Individuals who experience migraine have symptoms that include nausea, sensitivity to light and/or odors, skin sensitivity, fatigue, mood change, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, neck pain and changes in vision, including seeing spots, stars, lines, flashing lights and zigzag lines. The risk of other serious diseases is significantly higher in those with migraine, including stroke, epilepsy, depression, anxiety and chronic pain. Despite this, only one of every three people talk with a doctor about their migraine attacks and of those, only half get the right diagnosis. There is also a massive shortage of specialists focusing on migraine, with one specialist for every 65,000 individuals living with migraine, which worsens the problem.

About the American Headache Society
The American Headache Society (AHS) is a professional society of health care providers dedicated to the study and treatment of headache and face pain. The Society’s objectives are to promote the exchange of information and ideas concerning the causes and treatments of headache and related painful disorders. Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of this organization. AHS activities include an annual scientific meeting, a comprehensive headache symposium, regional symposia for neurologists and family practice physicians, and publication of the journal Headache. More information can be found at www.americanheadachesociety.org. In 2010 AHS founded the American Migraine Foundation (AMF) to provide access to information and resources for individuals living with migraine, as well as their loved ones. AMF is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of research and awareness surrounding migraine. Patients can learn more, find help and get connected by visiting www.americanmigrainefoundation.org.

CONTACT: Alyssa Bleiberg, Alyssa.Bleiberg@SyneosHealth.com, +1 212 845 5628 and +1 973 432 7289

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