Migraine is a neurological condition characterized by severe headaches – usually intense pulsing or throbbing on one side of the head. It is often accompanied by extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting. Migraine is three times more common in women than in men.
People with migraine tend to have recurring attacks triggered by a lack of food or sleep, exposure to light, or hormonal irregularities (only in women). Anxiety, stress, or relaxation after stress can also be triggers.
Researchers believe that chronic migraine is the result of fundamental neurological abnormalities caused by genetic mutations at work in the brain. Investigations of the more rare, familial subtypes of migraine are yielding information about specific genes and what they do, or don’t do, to cause the pain of migraine headache. Understanding the cascade of biological events that happen in the brain to cause a migraine, and the mechanisms that underlie these events, will give researchers opportunities to develop and test drugs that could prevent or interrupt a migraine attack.