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Migraine Changes Brain Structure At Micro-Level, Study Shows

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Migraine Changes Brain Structure At Micro-Level, Study Shows


A new study has found that migraine has long-lasting effects on the brain that effectively change brain structure. What’s more, these changes are visible under an MRI scan.

“In people with chronic migraine and episodic migraine without aura, there are significant changes in the perivascular spaces of a brain region called the centrum semiovale,” study co-author Wilson Xu, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said, reported NewsMedical. “These changes have never been reported before.”

The results of the study are reported to be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Migraine is a condition characterized by an intense recurring headache. Other symptoms may include nausea, weakness, and light sensitivity. Migraine is a very common problem that many people suffer from. According to the American Migraine Foundation, over 37 million people in the U.S. have migraine conditions, and up to 148 million people around the world suffer from chronic migraine, reported MedicalDialogue.

Perivascular spaces are fluid-filled cavities that surround blood vessels in the brain. They are most commonly found in the basal ganglia and white matter of the cerebrum, as well as along the optic tract. Centrum semiovale is the central part of white matter and white matter hyperintensity is the lesion that “lights up” on MRI.

Several factors such as abnormal conditions at the blood-brain barrier and inflammation can affect perivascular spaces. Enlarged perivascular spaces, in particular, may indicate small vessel disease.

“Perivascular spaces are part of a fluid clearance system in the brain,” Xu explained. “Studying how they contribute to migraine could help us better understand the complexities of how migraines occur.”

The researchers used ultra-high-field 7T MRI to discern structural minute changes in the brain during different types of migraine.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study using ultra-high-resolution MRI to study microvascular changes in the brain due to migraine, particularly in perivascular spaces,” Xu said. “Because 7T MRI is able to create images of the brain with much higher resolution and better quality than other MRI types, it can be used to demonstrate much smaller changes that happen in brain tissue after a migraine.”

Participants in the study included 10 chronic migraine patients, 10 episodic migraines without aura patients, and five healthy controls with similar ages. All the participants were between 25 and 60 years old. Special attention was paid to avoiding patients with overt cognitive impairment, brain tumors, prior intracranial surgery, MRI contraindications, and claustrophobia in the study.

Statistical analysis found that the number of enlarged perivascular spaces in the centrum semiovale was more pronounced in patients with migraine compared to healthy controls. Also, the quantity of enlarged perivascular space in the centrum semiovale was in proportion to white matter hyperintensity severity in migraine patients.

“We studied chronic migraine and episodic migraine without aura and found that, for both types of migraine, perivascular spaces were bigger in the centrum semiovale,” Xu said. “Although we didn’t find any significant changes in the severity of white matter lesions in patients with and without migraine, these white matter lesions were significantly linked to the presence of enlarged perivascular spaces. This suggests that changes in perivascular spaces could lead to the future development of more white matter lesions.”

Xu believes that their study “could help inspire future, larger-scale studies to continue investigating how changes in the brain’s microscopic vessels and blood supply contribute to different migraine types.” The end goal is that the study “could help us develop new, personalized ways to diagnose and treat migraine.”

 

 

 

 

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Low Sex Drive Can Be Treated By Hormone Injections, Study Shows

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Low Sex Drive Can Be Treated By Hormone Injections, Study Shows


A hormone that is naturally produced in the body has been shown to treat low sex drive by increasing activity in brain regions associated with arousal and attraction in men and women.

In two studies, published in the journal Jama Network Open, lead investigators Prof Waljit Dhillo and Dr. Alexander Comninos, consultant endocrinologists at Imperial College London, analyzed the effects of the hormone kisspeptin in people with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). 

Kisspeptin is a hormone that stimulates the release of other reproductive hormones in the body. In fact, previous studies have shown that shots of kisspeptin can enhance the reaction of people with healthy libidos to sexual stimuli and increase brain activity in parts involved in sexual attraction.

Apart from increasing sex-related brain activity, some women enrolled in the current study said that they felt “more sexy,”  while men had increased “happiness about sex” as well as increased “penile tumescence” while watching an erotic film in the study, according to The Guardian.

The study was particularly effective for a 44-year-old male participant who said that he faced difficulty maintaining relationships due to his low sexual appetite. Incredibly, the man later had a son, which his partner had conceived in the same week he received the hormone injection. “I had the best possible outcome as a result of the trial,” he said.

For the study, researchers enrolled 32 women and 32 men with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). A distressing condition defined by low sexual desire, HSSD affects about 10% of women and 8% of men, as per the outlet.

The hormone treatment reduced hyperactivity in regions linked to HSDD and increased activity in noted sexual regions of the brain, the study found. Moreover, the males scored better at penile rigidity, which was measured while they watched an erotic video as part of the study. The results showed increased penile rigidity of up to 56% as opposed to a placebo.

“The predominant theory in HSDD suggests that there is excess self-monitoring and introspection, for example, how am I performing, how do I look, what does my partner think, which blunts downstream sexual desire and arousal,” Comninos explained.

“In these studies, we have shown that kisspeptin may be able to address this imbalance and promote sexual pathways in both women and men distressed by low sexual desire,” Comninos further said.

Due to the fact that kisspeptin has no reported side effects and worked exceptionally well in the study, the researchers believe that kisspeptin can be used as a treatment for HSDD. “Collectively, the results suggest that kisspeptin may offer a safe and much-needed treatment for HSDD that affects millions of people around the world,” Dhillo said.

 

 

 

 





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Simple Salt Water Nasal Spray Reduces Snoring And Other Breathing Difficulties In Kids: Study

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Long, Regular Sleep Leads To Kindergarten Success


A trailblazing study has found that simple salt water-containing nasal spray works at par with a steroidal nasal solution, and can alleviate snoring and other breathing difficulties in children.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, showed that a saline (salt water) nasal spray was as effective as an anti-inflammatory steroid nasal spray in managing sleep-disordered breathing in children, following six weeks of treatment.

Also, the saline nasal spray successfully reduced the number of children needing tonsil removal by half.

“Nasal sprays work by cleaning the nose and/or reducing inflammation not just in the nose but all the way down the back of the throat to the adenoids and tonsillar tissue to alleviate the symptoms,” Murdoch Children’s Dr. Alice Baker said, SciTechDaily reported.

In the study led by Australia’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, intranasal mometasone furoate was compared to intranasal saline for the treatment of symptoms of obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children.

“Obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children is characterized by snoring and difficulty breathing during sleep. SDB affects at least 12% of otherwise healthy children and is associated with significant morbidity,” researchers wrote in their paper.

The trial included 276 children of ages between three and 12 years, and was carried out at The Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital.

Both the nasal sprays resolved the symptoms in approximately 40% of participants, the study found.

“A large proportion of children who snore and have breathing difficulties could be managed successfully by their primary care physician, using six weeks of an intranasal saline spray as a first-line treatment,” Murdoch Children’s Associate Professor Kirsten Perrett noted. “Using this cheaper and readily available treatment would increase the quality of life of these children, reduce the burden on specialist services, decrease surgery waiting times, and reduce hospital costs.” 

Tonsillectomy or the removal of tonsils is commonly performed to treat children’s snoring. The procedure is expensive, painful, and places a huge burden on hospital resources.  

In particular, one of the kids in the trial, Thomas, aged 7, greatly benefited from the trial. The kid’s parents, Stephen Graham and Emily Tuner-Graham, said their son stopped snoring and no longer needed tonsil removal ever since he took part in the trial.

“From three years of age Thomas started snoring and we were concerned that he would eventually need surgery,” they said, as per the outlet. “Prior to joining the trial, a specialist recommended having his tonsils out. It’s a huge relief that by just using a nasal spray his breathing difficulties have cleared.”

In other news, children in California no longer need to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school.





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White, Brown, Pink, Green Noise: What They Mean And How They Affect Sleep

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White, Brown, Pink, Green Noise: What They Mean And How They Affect Sleep


White, brown, pink, and green–the colorful noises being touted to help one sleep better. But what do these noises actually mean and what effect do they have on sleep? Read on to find out.

The fanfare around these different noises begs the question–why is sleep getting so much attention? The answer may lie in the data from the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS)from last year that showed that around 64% of young people of ages between 17 and 23 struggled to sleep, according to Sky News. The disparity between the genders was stark–76% of young women had trouble sleeping, compared to 53% of young men.

Let’s tackle these noises one by one.

White noise

According to Merriam-Webster, white noise is defined as “a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range.”

Examples of white noise include sounds that originate from fans, air conditioners, and radio static.

The white noise drowns out outside noises by giving off consistent noise. This, in turn, helps one to stay asleep undisturbed by sudden noises.

“Some people find white noise helpful as the brain has something relaxing to focus on instead of the surrounding environmental noises. White noise can not only help some people to fall asleep, it can help them to stay asleep,” Dr. Hana Patel, a GP in London, told Sky News.

Pink noise

Pink noise is similar to white noise, except it has a lower pitch. So, it may be more soothing to some people when compared to white noise. This noise is also said to aid in sleeping better.

Brown noise

WebMD defines brown noise, also called red noise, as one that “produces a rumbling sound that’s deeper with a bass-like tone than pink or white noise.” It is a deeper, stronger tone.

“Brown noise can trigger relaxation through low frequencies and is said to produce a sound that many people find soothing,” Steve Adams, a sleep expert at Mattress Online, told Sky News.

Moreover, Adams added brown noise can also alleviate tinnitus symptoms.

Green noise

The TikTok-famous sound has got a newfound popularity.

A more natural tone, green noise “is similar to brown or pink noise, but is generally more pleasant and relaxing to listen to,” Dr. Lindsay Browning, a psychologist, neuroscientist, and sleep expert, said.

Not a recognized term yet, green noise “is a recording of an actual sound in nature – such as a gentle waterfall or rain,” Browning added.

In summary, there are many noises out there projected to improve sleep. But which one works for an individual is a personal preference and can be found out only by trying the rainbow of noises the world has to offer.

In related news, a different group of researchers looked at the changes in people’s sleep duration throughout their lives, and how they might differ across countries, by assessing the data from 730,187 participants from 63 countries. While the youngest participants with the minimum age of 19 slept the most, sleep quality began declining as they progressed into early adulthood until 33 years of age, the study found. The decrease then slows down and plateaus, only for the sleep to increase again around the time they hit 53.





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