New research conducted by scientists at the University of British Columbia has found a non-invasive technique for monitoring migraines.
The low-frequency brainwave known as cortical spreading depression (or CSD for short) has, for a while now, been linked to migraines and has helped to explain why migraine auras involve different symptoms occurring one after the other – as the wave moves through the brain it affects different areas which control different functions e.g. vision, speech etc. At the moment the best way to study CSD is by placing electrodes directly onto the surface of the brain, but clearly this is not ideal as it involves some highly invasive surgery.
However, it has been discovered that EEGs (electroencephalograms), which are readings that only need electrodes to be placed on the scalp, can give equally reliable data if used alongside a specially designed amplifier.
Ali Gorji, a co-author of the study, said that this new discovery could help in the development of new migraine drugs that specifically target CSD. “Research is still continuing to fully understand the clinical relevance of CSD. But ultimately, having this non-invasive way of studying this brainwave could lead to better understanding, diagnosis and treatment of migraine, epilepsy and other neurological conditions such as stroke and traumatic brain injury.”
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