Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Weight loss surgery can significantly improve migraines, study finds

Date:
March 29, 2011
Source:
Lifespan
Summary:
Obese migraine sufferers reported post-operative improvements in headache frequency, severity, and disability. Findings suggest weight loss may be an important part of a migraine treatment plan for obese patients.

Bariatric surgery may provide an added benefit to severely obese patients besides weight loss: it can also help alleviate the excruciating pain of migraine headaches, according to new research from The Miriam Hospital, published in the March 29, 2011 issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers say obese patients who had suffered painful and debilitating migraines before bariatric surgery reported improvements in headache frequency, severity and disability just six months after surgery. At that point, most patients had lost an average of 66.4 pounds.

"Obesity is thought to contribute to worsening of migraine, particularly for severely obese individuals, yet no study has examined whether weight loss can actually improve migraine headaches in these patients," said lead author Dale Bond, Ph.D., a researcher with The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center. "Our study provides evidence that weight loss may be an important part of a migraine treatment plan for obese patients."

It is estimated that approximately 28 million Americans -- mostly women -- suffer from migraines. They are thought to be caused by abnormal brain activity, which is triggered by stress, certain foods, environmental factors, or other factors, although the exact chain of events remains unclear. Migraine pain is usually moderate to severe, often described as pounding, throbbing pain often felt on only one side of the head. Headaches can last from four hours to three days and usually occur one to four times per month. Migraine symptoms include nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity. There is no specific cure for migraine headaches although certain medications can help reduce the number of attacks.

The Miriam study included 24 severely obese patients who suffered from migraines. The majority of participants (88 percent) were female, middle-aged and severely obese, with an average BMI of 46.6 prior to surgery. More than half of all patients underwent laparoscopic gastric banding surgery; the other participants chose Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. At six months, the average BMI was 34.6.

Using standard migraine questionnaires, researchers assessed patients both before and six months after bariatric surgery. They found headache frequency was significantly reduced from before surgery (11.1 headache days) to six months postoperatively (6.7 days), with nearly half of patients showing at least a 50 percent reduction in frequency. The odds of experiencing this level of improvement were higher in participants who experienced greater weight losses, regardless of the type of bariatric surgery.

The study also revealed substantial reductions in headache pain severity and related disability. Before surgery, half of all participants reported moderate to severe disability related to their migraines, often requiring medical treatment and intervention. However, six months after surgery, only 12.5 percent of participants reported this degree of disability.

"It's interesting to note that headache improvements occurred postoperatively even though 70 percent of participants were still considered obese six months after surgery," said Bond. "These findings suggest weight loss can help alleviate migraines even though an individual's obesity has not been fully resolved."

Bond says future studies are needed to determine whether smaller, behavioral weight loss interventions also produce similar improvements in migraines.

In the United States, more than half of all adults are considered overweight or obese, and the numbers continue to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 39 percent of Rhode Islanders are considered overweight and another 22 percent are considered obese. Obesity is closely linked with a number of serious health complications, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Bariatric surgery, when performed correctly, can help obese patients manage these conditions.

Co-authors included Siva Vithiananthan, M.D., of The Miriam Hospital; Justin Nash, Ph.D., of The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine; and J. Graham Thomas, Ph.D., and Rena Wing, Ph.D., of The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center.

The principle affiliation of Dale Bond, Ph.D., is The Miriam Hospital (a member hospital of the Lifespan health system in Rhode Island), and direct financial and infrastructure support for this project was received through the Lifespan Office of Research Administration. The researcher also has an academic appointment at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lifespan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. S. Bond, S. Vithiananthan, J. M. Nash, J. G. Thomas, R. R. Wing. Improvement of migraine headaches in severely obese patients after bariatric surgery. Neurology, 2011; 76 (13): 1135 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318212ab1e

Cite This Page:

Lifespan. "Weight loss surgery can significantly improve migraines, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328161846.htm>.
Lifespan. (2011, March 29). Weight loss surgery can significantly improve migraines, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328161846.htm
Lifespan. "Weight loss surgery can significantly improve migraines, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328161846.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins