Public Release:  REM sleep deprivation plays a role in chronic migraine

American Headache Society

LOS ANGELES (June 23, 2010) - Reporting at the American Headache Society's 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting in Los Angeles this week, new research shows that sleep deprivation leads to changes in the levels of key proteins that facilitate events involved in the underlying pathology of migraine.

Paul L. Dunham, Ph.D. and his team at Missouri State University's Center for Biomedical & Life Sciences sought to understand the mechanisms by which sleep disturbance increases the risk of migraine and may even trigger migraine.

"Previous clinical data support a relationship between sleep quality and migraine," said Dr. Durham, "so we used an established model of sleep deprivation to measure levels of proteins that lower the activation threshold of peripheral and central nerves involved in pain transmission during migraine. We found that REM sleep deprivation caused increased expression of the proteins p38, PKA, and P2X3, which are known to play an important role in initiating and sustaining chronic pain."

"So little is known about the biological mechanisms that underlie how certain factors trigger a migraine attack," said David Dodick, M.D., president of the AHS. "This is important work and this Missouri State team should be applauded for beginning to shed light on an area desperately in need of investigation."

The work was supported by Merck & Co.

More than 200 scientific papers and posters are being presented during the AHS meeting which is expected to draw some 500 migraine and headache health professionals including doctors, researchers, and specialists.

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About the American Headache Society

The American Headache Society® (AHS) is a professional society of health care providers dedicated to the study and treatment of headache and face pain. The Society's objectives are to promote the exchange of information and ideas concerning the causes and treatments of headache and related painful disorders. Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of this organization. AHS activities include an annual scientific meeting, a comprehensive headache symposium, regional symposia for neurologists and family practice physicians, publication of the journal Headache and sponsorship of the AHS Committee for Headache Education (ACHE). www.americanheadachesociety.org

About the American Migraine Foundation

The American Migraine Foundation is a non-profit foundation supported by the American Headache Society and generous donors dedicated to the advancement of migraine research. The mission of this newly formed foundation is to support innovative research that will lead to improvement in the lives of those who suffer from migraine and other disabling headaches. www.americanmigrainefoundation.org

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