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.
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences