Lenses Offer Real Migraine Relief
LANSING, Mich. (May 25, 2011) For the first time, researchers
have shown why precision-tinted lenses reduce headaches for migraine
sufferers, a finding that could help improve treatment options for
patients battling the debilitating ailment.
of Michigan State University's Department of Radiology used functional
magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to reveal how precision-tinted
lenses normalize brain activity in patients with migraine headaches,
preventing such attacks.
research appears in the May 2011 edition of the journal Cephalalgia,
published by SAGE.
tinted lenses are increasingly used for migraine sufferers, until
now the science behind the effects was unclear. The team led by Huang
showed how colored glasses - tuned specifically to each migraine sufferer
- work by normalizing the activity in the brain's visual cortex, which
is responsible for processing visual information and is located in
the back of the brain.
research has revealed specific, abnormal brain activity, known as
hyper-activation, when migraine sufferers saw intense patterns. The
precision-tinted lenses considerably reduce the effect.
of the study, researchers focused on specific visual stimuli known
to trigger migraines. These patterns, high contrast stripes or gratings,
can give the illusion of shape, color and movement, not only triggering
migraines but also causing seizures in some photosensitive epileptics.
first were prescribed tinted lenses with an intuitive colorimeter,
a device used to illuminate text with different colored lights, creating
for each test participant an optimal color of light that led to the
greatest comfort by reducing distortion.
lenses with this optimal color were created and given to each test
subject, along with two other sets of tinted lenses without the optimal
color. In addition, each patient was paired with a migraine-free control
subject, who also was tested with that patient's three sets of lenses.
in the fMRI machine, the subjects were exposed to a range of striped
patterns while their brain images were acquired. Then the researchers
analyzed the effect of the tinted lenses on the activation of the
different visual areas of the brain.
the tinted lenses decreased hyper-activation for migraine sufferers
in visual area V2 of the visual cortex of the brain.
patients reported some relief (a 40 percent improvement) using the
control lenses, the precision-tinted lenses had a significant effect
(70 percent improvement) when viewing the stressful stripes.
specific characteristics of activation we recorded could provide a
potential biomarker for identifying those migraine patients suffering
visual cortical hyper-activation," he said. "This biomarker
could prove useful not only for further evaluation of tinted lenses
but also for studying the effectiveness of drugs to prevent migraine
worked with colleagues from the University of Michigan and the University
of Essex in England.
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