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 The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>