Surprising lack of association between stress and migraine revealed

New study by the University of Calgary and Curelator says only 7.1% of patients had a majority of their attacks associated with increased levels of perceived stress

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SurprisingSurprising it might sound, but a new study has found lack of association between stress and migraine.

The research by the University of Calgary and Curelator says only 7.1% of patients had a majority of their attacks associated with increased levels of perceived stress

And, 76% of the total number of migraine attacks were associated with either flat or decreasing levels of perceived stress.

Serena Orr, M.D., senior author of the study, headache specialist, pediatric neurologist, and researcher at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada, said, “These findings strongly suggest that, for the vast majority of patients, the role of perceived stress in triggering migraine attacks is less important than previously hypothesized.”

Serenna added: “This contradicts the previous belief that increases in stress consistently trigger migraine attacks, because we found that this relationship is rather uncommon.”

The results are published in the January issue of the leading Headache, The Journal of Head and Face Pain medicine journal, and they underscore the need for personalized phenotypic analysis and treatment plans in migraine.

The study says most individuals, 61.5%, had more than 50% of their attacks preceded by flat stress levels. Only 3.4% of people had half of their attacks following decreasing levels of stress.

Stress and attacks

The remaining portion of individuals, 28%, had a variable mixture of increasing, flat and/or decreasing levels of stress preceding their attacks.

Conducted by Curelator and in collaboration with the University of Calgary, the international study is the largest to date to examine the relationship between perceived stress and migraine: both in number of participants (n= 351 patients) as well as study duration (three months).

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During the study, participants had a total of 2,115 migraine attacks, each of which were analyzed with respect to individual persons’ daily stress levels before, during and after the attack.

(With inputs from The OnLook News Research Bureau)

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