10 Headache and Migraine News Highlights from the past 3 Months (February 2018 edition)

It’s time to look at what everyone has been reading and talking about here at Headache and Migraine News over the last three months. Below are the most read articles, and the three in bold text have the most “likes” on Facebook, last I checked. So, basically, the most popular posts come first…

  1. Lipoic Acid for Migraine
  2. New Reports on Visual Snow
  3. Headaches and Empty Sella Syndrome (Intrasellar Arachnoidocele)
  4. More Clues about how CGRP Drugs will Prevent Migraine
  5. Device Approved for Migraine in the USA: gammaCore
  6. Diagnosing: Sudden Sharp Pain in Head
  7. Another Link between Alzheimer’s and Migraine?
  8. “Nothing works . . . I am desperate for help”
  9. Pain Catastrophizing and Your Headache
  10. Migraine and Narcolepsy – Are they Linked?

Another Link between Alzheimer’s and Migraine?

A recent study has uncovered a possible link between migraine and dementia.

As we’ve talked about before, most doctors and researchers will tell you that there is no connection between migraine and Alzheimer’s. At least, no solid connection.

A link between Alzheimer’s and Migraine?In other words, you probably don’t have to be afraid that your migraine attacks will lead to Alzheimer’s later in life. Read more here: Alzheimer’s and Headaches

However, there are enough similarities between the two – symptoms and related conditions – to make you wonder if there may be a connection somewhere.

This study was about dementia in general (Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia). The researchers looked at magnesium levels in 10,000 patients, finding that those with low – and high – magnesium levels were more likely to develop various types of dementia.

Now we don’t know why high magnesium levels would relate to dementia. Hypermagnesemia, as it is called, is quite rare – in fact, only two of the patients who developed dementia had high magnesium levels – that’s only 0.24%, so that makes it hard to develop any strong conclusions.

However, patients with low magnesium made up over 13% of the dementia patients.

There are various theories about why low levels of magnesium would be related to dementia, but we do know that many migraine patients have low magnesium levels, and many benefit from taking magnesium supplements.

Although the researchers emphasize that more study is needed, the bottom line for us is that it is wise to keep your magnesium levels in the normal range. In the study, the researchers used a blood test that checks serum magnesium levels. You can also try the magnesium RBC blood test, which seems to be more accurate.

For some important notes about the RBC test, see Magnesium RBC Blood Test from Dr. Carolyn Dean (author of the very highly rated The Magnesium Miracle).

For more on this study from the migraine perspective, see Dementia and magnesium levels.

To see the abstract of the study, visit: Serum magnesium is associated with the risk of dementia


Sleep, Bruxism, Headache and … Botox?

Often, seeing connections between two conditions can help us find better treatments for a particular patient. And a recent study on Botox and bruxism may lead to better treatments for migraine.
Bruxism and Migraine
Bruxism refers to the clenching or grinding of your teeth at night. You can do it, and not even know it. But it could be a trigger for migraine attacks, or tension type headache.

There are some effective treatments that can help with bruxism – and are likely to help with headaches too – such as the NTI-tss device.

But a recent study suggests that onabotulinumtoxinA, well known under the brand name Botox, may help with bruxism as well. (Abstract: Onabotulinum toxin-A injections for sleep bruxism)

In the (small) study, some patients were given a placebo, and others Botox injections. Those who received the injections were more likely to improve over the next few weeks.

Although only a small introductory study, these results may tell us a couple of things. First, if you have migraine and bruxism, it may be more likely that Botox will work for you.

Also, doctors who know that their patients are dealing with migraine and/or tension-type headache may find that they can treat both with Botox. Will this also inform which injection sites are used in various patients – that is, what type of Botox treatment they get? It could very well be.

Have you found Botox helping you with bruxism, or at least helping you get a better sleep? Leave a comment!

For more on the study, see


Device Approved for Migraine in the USA: gammaCore

Two weeks ago, the gammaCore device was finally approved for migraine treatment by the FDA. You can read the press release from the company here: gammaCore® Receives FDA Clearance for the Acute Treatment of Pain Associated with Migraine Headache in Adult Patients
The device is not new – it’s been used for migraine and cluster headache for quite some time. It’s a non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator, which means no implanted devices.

Kerrie Smyres over at The Daily Headache has put up some excellent information about the device, so I’ll link to our previous information here, and her newer info, which also discusses cost and insurance (brace yourself – this treatment is not cheap right now!). But first, here’s a video from the makers of gammaCore:


Are You CoQ10 Deficient?

Although CoQ10 has been a well known migraine treatment for many years, for whatever reason we haven’t spent a lot of time talking about it here. But a recent article at the New York Headache blog helps us with a summary of information about this treatment.

21st Century CoQ10

Another brand recommended by Consumer Labs.

CoQ10, or coenzyme Q10, is an antioxidant found in every cell of your body, and also in some foods. It is sometimes listed as a supplement as Q10, vitamin Q10, ubiquinone, or ubidecarenone.

CoQ10 is often taken to fight symptoms of heart conditions. Many people also take it to fight migraine.

The recent article at the NY Headache blog points out that studies have shown CoQ10 benefits for migraine patients, whether children, adolescents, or adults. (Read the article here: Migraines can be prevented with CoQ10 supplementation) The doses given in the trials were 1-3mg for children and adolescents, and 100mg 3x daily for adults.

Dr. Mauskop (author of the post) makes the logical assumption that you’re more likely to benefit from CoQ10 treatment if your levels are actually low. There is a lab test for this, which is often covered by insurance plans. But the post gives the following advice:

It is important to ask your doctor what the actual blood level was because the laboratories will report as normal values between 0.37 and 2.2 (Labcorp) or 0.44 and 1.64 (Quest Diagnostics), studies have shown that the level should be at least 0.7.

Consumer Labs recommends Swanson Ultra as a good budget brand of this supplement (follow the link to “other sellers” and you’ll see that Swanson sells this and it’s shipped by Amazon). The high-absorption recommendation is only slightly more – Doctor’s Best High Absorption CoQ10.

(Note: the “high absorption” version may allow you to get better results with a lower dosage. However, it contains black pepper extract, which may cause issues with some medications, such as propranolol. Talk to your doctor, especially if you’re taking a prescription medication.)

CoQ10 has been helpful for the prevention of migraine for many years. Hopefully with better testing we can match it to the patients who will benefit the most. It’s an inexpensive option that could make a big difference.