Vasodilation Not Always Part of Migraine

Patient Expert
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Have you read or been told that Migraines are "vascular headaches?"

For many years, the prevalent theory was the "vascular theory," which was that Migraines occurred due to a fraction of a second of vasoconstriction (constricting or shrinking of blood vessels) followed immediately by vasodilation (the dilation or opening of blood vessels too wide).

Research has been showing for some time now that when we encounter a trigger and a Migraine begins, there are other things that occur before vasoconstriction and vasodilation. This research has proven the vascular theory to be wrong. Nothing bad about that. At the time the theory was developed, it was based upon the best research available. Since then, however, improved technology including PET scans and fMRI (functional MRI) have allowed scientists to better observe the brain during a Migraine attack.

In November, I attended the American Headache Society's Scottsdale Symposium. One of the presentations was Migraine Pathophysiology Update, presented by Dr. Andrew Charles, the Director of the Headache Research and Treatment Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. I think many of you will be as fascinated as I am with part of the presentation. Consider this statement from that presentation:

"Vasodilation may occur as part of the disorder, but is not required for Migraine pain."

Want to know more? Take a look at _Vasodilation Not Necessary for Migraine _.

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