curelatorAs Curelator Headache tracks the factors and symptoms for individuals’ headache and migraine, one thing is becoming clear: individuals are not great at determining their own triggers. Curelator Headache is a digital tool that guides individuals to identify personal triggers, discover personal protectors (factors associated with decreasing an individual’s chance of an attack), and dismiss factors not associated with attacks. The results of an initial study released by Curelator Headache and the National Headache Foundation in December 2015 showed that some frequently cited triggers, such as chocolate and red wine, may be just as responsible for protecting against attacks as contributing to them.

triggers Any number of triggers can bring on a migraine, including such different factors as drinking alcohol, experiencing a change in the weather, and not getting enough sleep. Now one researcher has determined that these common migraine triggers and a host of others can produce oxidative stress in the brain. Such stress is marked by a build-up of damaging molecules called free radicals and can lead to pain. In a study published recently in Headache, Jonathan Borkum, PhD, of the University of Maine’s Department of Psychology, evaluated 2,000 studies about migraine triggers published between 1990 and 2014 and found that nearly all common migraine triggers are capable of generating oxidative stress. Based on those findings, he stated he believes oxidative stress can be a unifying principle behind the types of triggers countless migraineurs experience.

Q: It seems that certain types of music, especially loud, manufactured/synthesizer-type music, triggers my migraine headaches. I am wondering if any research has been done to determine the correlation of certain sounds or music to the onset of migraine headaches. An example of this music can be heard in some steakhouse-type restaurants. Sometimes my headaches are triggered by being placed on hold during a business phone call. I cannot listen to music using earplugs. Easy-listening music, live piano music, and/or Lawrence Welk-type music do not give me headaches. Shop vacuums and power scrubbers used in large stores also trigger my migraine headaches. Sometimes it is almost impossible to avoid this type of music or noise. I have non-classical, atypical migraine headaches. I have tried earplugs, but they do not block out the sounds that are triggers. Also, any musical sounds transmitted by any type of ear phones directly against my ears are triggers as well. The last time I went shopping at Walmart, which was playing migraine-triggering music, I just started humming louder than the intercom music to block that music out and it seemed to help.

Vegan_Gardein_Tofu_Foods_Display_(cropped1)-Small Diet may affect migraines for a variety of reasons, and a group of Washington, D.C. researchers recently found that a low-fat, plant-based diet may be beneficial to migraineurs. The researchers, generally affiliated with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), randomly selected 42 migraineurs, who either received a placebo supplement for 16 weeks or ate a vegan diet (a diet with no animal products) for the same time period. A several-week phase was included in which the subjects eliminated common dietary triggers. After a 4-week period of no treatment, the groups switched to the other treatment modality.

Q. I have been getting daily headaches for almost a year now. When a really bad one hits, it lasts for more than 4 days and gets more intense right after eating. I feel like it makes my neck so tender that it hurts, and it feels like I am suffocating when I have my neck against anything (lying on a pillow, wearing a scarf, etc). I have no idea what is the trigger for the headaches, but my brain is buzzing all the time. My joints feel tender in my neck after the headache starts. I did get in a car accident almost 2 years ago and had a stiff neck, but didn’t have headaches until about 8 months after the wreck, so I don’t see any correlation.

curelator-logo-v3_6117Curelator Inc., a Cambridge, MA-based healthcare company, is working with the National Headache Foundation, to test a groundbreaking new approach to migraine management. Their first product, Curelator Headache™ is a novel web-based application that should allow people with migraine to quickly and scientifically find out which triggers and other factors might cause or prevent their migraine attacks and guide them to make changes that could help manage their migraines more effectively. Curelator is working with some of the world’s leading migraine experts to develop this new approach, including Richard Lipton, MD (Montefiore Headache Center); Peter Goadsby MD PhD (Kings College and UCSF); Anne MacGregor, MD (Barts Health NHS Trust); and Egilius L.H. Spierings, MD, PhD, CPI (Tufts).