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Archive for Sunday, September 14, 2008

Botox, other therapies may help migraines

September 14, 2008

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Migraines are not headaches. They're a "neurological illness" caused by an abnormality in brain chemistry. Headaches are a symptom of a migraine.

The anti-wrinkle injection Botox, which is made from the toxin that causes botulism, may help relieve migraine headaches, according to preliminary studies by the drug maker, Allergan.

Research shows that complementary and alternative medical treatments - including biofeedback, ice massage, yoga and acupuncture - can help.

Migraines affect up to 15 percent of the population; at least 15 million Americans have "migraine disease" and don't realize it.

Chocolate, stress, alcohol, lack of sleep, hormonal fluctuations and even certain cheeses can trigger - but not cause - an attack.

Sex triggers migraines in some people. For others, it can stave off an attack, which might be why migraineurs generally have a higher sex drive than those who don't.

Supplementing with magnesium can help prevent migraines and can make them less painful.

The "anti-migraine cocktail" consists of 400 milligrams magnesium, 1 gram taurine, 100 milligrams coenzyeme Q10, 100 micrograms huperzine A, and 10 milligrams vinpocetine (a herbal extract). Take it twice a day, says Larry McCleary, author of "The Brain Trust Program."

Sufferers are not alone. Sigmund Freud, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Charles Dawrin, Frederic Chopin, Claude Monet and George Seurat all suffered from migraines. Today's celebrities with "migraine brains" include Troy Aikman, Serena Williams, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ben Affleck, Marcia Cross, Loretta Lynn and Carly Simon.

Caffeine can be the cheapest, easiest, most available drug to treat migraines.

(Sources include: "The Migraine Brain" by Carolyn Bernstein and Elaine McArdle, "The Brain Trust Program by Larry McCleary.)

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