Posted by Shannon (22.214.171.124) on August 14, 2000 at 01:04:38:
You guys may have already heard about this, but if you had not I thought I would share
Headache linked to brain structure change
NEW YORK, Jun 30 (Reuters Health) -- People who suffer from cluster headaches -- a painful series of headaches that last from 15 minutes to 3 hours -- have a difference in brain structure that may account for the attacks, results of a study suggest.
Cluster headache attacks often strike on one side of the head in the region of the eye, temple and cheek, can recur for weeks or months before disappearing, and occur more often in men than in women.
It was thought that people with cluster headaches and migraines had episodes of abnormal brain function, but had completely normal brain structure, according to Dr. Peter Goadsby of the Institute of Neurology in London, UK, and colleagues.
However, the researchers found that cluster headache patients had "significant structural difference in grey matter density," according to a report in the July issue of Nature Medicine. In particular, such headache patients had an increase in grey matter in one region of the brain, the hypothalamus.
"The hypothalamus is the part of the brain associated with circadian rhythms," said Goadsby in a statement from The Wellcome Trust, which funded the research. "Our results demonstrate for the first time the precise location in the brain involved in cluster headaches and helps to explain why this condition shows such striking seasonal variation and clock-like regularity."
The area was "almost identical to the area of activation during an acute cluster headache attack," according to the report. The structural abnormality was present during headaches as well as headache-free time periods.
The findings suggest that the "current view of the neurobiology of cluster headache requires complete revision" according to the researchers who used a new technique known as voxel-based morphometry to examine the brain structure of 25 cluster headache patients and 29 people without such headaches.
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