Fewer migraine attacks during pregnancy
Women who suffer from migraines often experience significant relief from their symptoms during pregnancy - a phenomenon that has been known for a long time and has now been examined more closely by scientists from Kiel and Rostock. The focus of the team's research interest was on the so-called “cortical habituation”, which is the brain's ability to gradually ignore repetitive noises (such as the ticking of the alarm clock) so that ultimately there is no longer any conscious perception - because Previous studies had already shown that many migraineurs have this ability reduced.
Since many women had reported a decrease in pain “in different circumstances”, the researchers wanted to investigate whether this phenomenon might occur as a result of normalization of the cortical habitat during pregnancy - and examined 29 pregnant women, 14 of whom were migraineurs and 28 non-pregnant women, 12 of whom had migraines at the time of the study. During the investigation, the women were asked to concentrate on tones for which they had previously been prepared by a warning tone - the influence of this procedure on the test subjects' brain activity was recorded in parallel by the researchers using EEG (electroencephalography).
After the experiment on the pregnant women was carried out only in the 36th week of pregnancy and then again four weeks after delivery, the researchers came to an interesting result: For example, pregnant migraine patients, for whom it was previously very difficult, were bothersome or " Unimportant “noises can suddenly be blocked out from the second trimester of pregnancy onwards and the brain activity was identical to that of healthy test subjects - which, however, changed again in the second test four weeks after delivery because the typical migraine symptoms had returned instead . According to the research team, the temporary normalization of brain activity can be attributed to the changed hormonal balance during pregnancy, because in this phase there are far fewer hormonal fluctuations than usual - results that could be extremely valuable in the search for new methods of treating migraines. (sb, January 22nd, 2010)