Study: Migraines may help memory loss
The researchers tracked 1,448 people, including 204 with migraines, for a period of 12 years, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. They were given cognitive tests periodically.
The migraine sufferers started out with slightly lower cognitive function but lost less. The effect was most pronounced in people who had migraines with aura — advance warning that a migraine is coming.
Amanda Kalaydjian, a researcher with the National Institute of Mental Health and lead author of an article in the journal Neurology, said the research team was surprised by the results. She said it is possible migraine sufferers benefit from taking better care of themselves by getting more sleep and eating better, or that medication they take helps them retain cognitive function.
But the researchers wrote that the cause is more likely to be biologic.
Besides, Iowa researchers may have found out why some people get migraine headaches and others do not.
Too much of a small protein call RAMP1 appears to “turn up the volume” of a nerve cell receptor’s response to a neuropeptide thought to cause migraines, the researchers said.
The neuropeptide — CGRP, or calcitonin gene-related peptide — has been shown to play an important role in migraines.
“We have shown that this RAMP protein is a key regulator for the action of CGRP,” said Andrew Russo, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics at Iowa. “Our study suggests that people who get migraines may have higher levels of RAMP1 than people who don’t get migraines.”
The study findings are published in the March 7 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.