Do You Know the Anatomy of Migraine is Now Known?

Part 2 of a 3-part series on migraines was published today and if you really want to understand migraines, I recommend you read part 1 first and then read part 2, which is a bit more comprehensive and scientific.

I copy paste here the beginning to capture your interest but please read the rest on the page where it is posted:

What is the anatomy of a migraine? Do migraines have an anatomy, a location map, in the same way heart disease does? Sure, migraine happens in the brain and we feel the pain in our head if there is pain – not all migraines come with pain, but does the pain guide us to a causative anatomy of the migraine the same way a heart attack does to the heart? No, it does not; at least not in the same way a blocked artery points to the cause of heart attack. The symptoms of migraines correspond to no specific regions of the brain, except in the case of the aura migraine, which points at the visual cortex. Only about 15% of those with migraines have auras. For 85% of the cases, we do not have the anatomical location of the migraine understood. Most science seems to consider aura and non-aura migraine different in nature and cause. Are they? Maybe not.

Most migraines are not connected to the symptoms we feel (nausea, dizziness, IBS, RLS, anxiety, nausea, vomit, etc.) and because of the variety of symptoms, there is nothing to guide us, such as a scan of the arteries for heart or a stroke. Another contributing factor is that there are no pain sensing nerves in the brain. All pain is felt by the trigeminal neuron receptors that are located on the meninges of the brain. That is, the pain we feel as migraineurs is disconnected from the actual location that causes migraines. To find the anatomy of a migraine, we need to go beyond the symptoms and the pain of the disease, beyond the visible disturbance of the eye in the aura, to the underlying cause for these symptoms.

For much of recent history, migraine research has revolved around two discrete theories of migraines: vascular and non-vascular mental illness. The two schools of thought were merged into what is now called neurovascular disease. But the latest findings suggest that there is more to migraines than neurovascular disease.

Migraine as Vascular Disease

For much of the 20th century, migraine was considered to be a vascular disease. This meant that migraine pain was caused by cranial blood vessel dilation or constriction. Still today we can see many over-the-counter migraine drugs that constrict blood vessels with caffeine in order to constrict the vascular structure of the brain (and the heart and the rest of our body). Alternatively, many doctors still prescribe beta blockers that reduce blood pressure and loosen arteries for easier blood flow and reduced constriction. If migraine is a disease of vascular nature, what causes the cranial vasodilation changes, particularly if these changes do not affect the heart or other parts of the body? This is the first clue that migraines are something more than just vascular in nature.

Migraine as Non-Vascular Mental Illness

The second prominent theory in migraine research attributes migraine pain to alterations… more

Questions and comments are welcome! This article contains lots of scientific evidence and is written on a bit more scientific language. Please feel free to ask if something confuses you!


About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain--migraine in particular--, electrolyte homeostasis, nutrition, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage gated channels that modulate electrolytes and voltage in the brain, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other related variants, such as the MTHFR variants of the B vitamin methylation process and many others. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. She is working on the hypothesis that migraine is a metabolic disease. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and her research and findings after treating over 4000 migraineurs successfully world wide, all ages and both genders, she published the 2nd (extended) edition of her migraine book "Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: Complete Guide: How To Treat & Prevent Migraines Without Medications". The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraine cause, development, treatment and prevention, incorporating all there is to know. It includes a long section with for medical and research professionals. The book is full of academic citations (over 800) to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide", published on September 29, 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers, and is currently studying Functional Medicine. Dr. Stanton is an avid sports fan, currently enamored by resistance training and weight lifting, which she does three times a week with a private trainer. For relaxation (yeah.. about a half minute each day) Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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