Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EU project confirms Europe's excellence in migraine research

07.11.2007
An EU-funded project on migraines has not only taken researchers a step closer to understanding the causes of these incapacitating attacks, but has created a critical mass, reinforcing Europe's reputation of excellence in this field, and reassuring migraine sufferers that their condition is being taken seriously.

Over 12% of the world's population suffer from migraines, with women making up two-thirds of sufferers. The attacks are not only highly unpleasant for sufferers, but are also costly for employers and health services. Annual costs are estimated at €10 billion for the EU alone.

Although the problem is widespread, the available treatments are unsuccessful in more than half of patients. The migraine community is therefore desperate for possible treatments, and has demonstrated this by participating in EUROHEAD's research.

Coordinators of the recently-concluded EU-funded project EUROHEAD spoke to CORDIS News about the discoveries made in the project and the impact that it has had on the migraine research community worldwide.

A cure for migraines is still some way off, but the EUROHEAD team does now have a much better understanding of how genes are involved in the triggering of a migraine, and how the trigger threshold can be reduced.

There is compelling evidence that cortical spreading depression (CSD) is responsible for the 'aura', the visual disturbances that often accompany migraines. The EUROHEAD team now believes that it could also be responsible for the onset of migraines themselves.

Several thousand migraine patients participated in the research, including twins and families in which migraines are common. Crucial to the success of the project was the involvement of people who suffer from a monogenic subtype of migraine, in which one sole gene is responsible for the condition. Five or six years ago there was just one pool of patients with the monogenic migraine subtype. The EUROHEAD team has now identified far more families in which the condition runs, and has also identified new syndromes.

Much of the research was done using cellular models, but animal models and human volunteers were also involved. Cellular models enabled the team to see what effects the genes had on cells at microscopic level. When investigating how the cells interact, the animal models were needed. 'We could never have done this if we had stuck to single cells. The two models were complimentary,' explains Dr Arn van den Maagdenberg of Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.

Brave volunteers in Denmark had an attack triggered by a team at Glostrup University Hospital using nitric oxide. The method developed in Glostrup is successful in triggering migraines in 60% to 70% of sufferers. Asked about these volunteers' readiness to have a migraine triggered in the name of science, Principal Investigator Michel Ferrari was very positive: 'The migraine population as a whole is very happy with initiatives like this. They feel they are being taken seriously. It has been established that this is a real disease,' he says.

While EUROHEAD has shown migraine-sufferers that they are being taken seriously, it has also indicated to the world that Europe should be taken seriously as a centre of excellence for migraine research. 'Europe is already the centre of excellence for migraine research. It is striking that, in other medical areas, the US is leading, but not in this area,' says Dr Ferrari. Moreover, most of the important research groups in this field were members of the EUROHEAD consortium.

The team has been contacted by researchers in every continent interested in collaborating on future research. Many have even sent genetic material from new families of migraine-sufferers. The EUROHEAD team is following up on the invitations that it has received, and many joint publications are in the pipeline.

EUROHEAD is currently experiencing what Dr van den Maagdenberg refers to as the 'magnet effect'. 'Everybody's looking at EUROHEAD as the experts on migraines,' he said.

Dr van den Maagdenberg welcomes the critical mass, the integration of research teams and the momentum created by EUROHEAD. When the right call is published under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the team will apply for further funding with the ultimate aim of finding a cure for the migraine.

Virginia Mercouri | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eurohead.org/
http://cordis.europa.eu/news

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>