Mi­graine’s ‘sil­ver lin­ing’: Lower risk of di­a­betes?

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

A STUDY of more than 74,000 French women has turned up an un­ex­pected find­ing: Those who suf­fer from mi­graines have a sig­nif­i­cantly lower risk for type 2 di­a­betes. The find­ing is based on sur­veys sent to thou­sands of women born be­tween 1925 and 1950. The study found that – af­ter ad­just­ing for body weight and other health fac­tors – women who said they had mi­graines had a 30 per cent lower risk of type 2 di­a­betes, the lead­ing form of the blood sugar dis­ease. The find­ing is sur­pris­ing be­cause mi­graine has “been associated with in­sulin re­sis­tance,” the meta­bolic con­di­tion that un­der­lies type 2 di­a­betes, said a team led by Guy Fagher­azzi of the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Health and Med­i­cal Re­search in Ville­juif, France. The team’s find­ings were pub­lished on­line in JAMA

Neu­rol­ogy. Ac­cord­ing to the re­searchers, up to 18 per cent of peo­ple are af­fected by mi­graine, with young, pre-menopausal women most prone to the se­vere headaches. The new study found that mi­graine in­ci­dence seemed to de­cline in the years be­fore the on­set of type 2 di­a­betes, and af­ter such di­ag­noses in­ci­dence “plateaued” at just 11 per cent. Just how might the two dis­eases be con­nected? Two US ex­perts weren’t sure. Dr Noah Rosen di­rects the North­well Health Headache Cen­ter in Great Neck, New York. He stressed that the study is ret­ro­spec­tive in na­ture and there­fore can­not show that one dis­ease ac­tu­ally helps cause or pro­tect against the other. The study ac­counted for body weight as a po­ten­tial fac­tor, but Rosen won­dered if eat­ing habits might play a role. “Peo­ple with mi­graine of­ten have an in­ter­est­ing re­la­tion­ship with food – some find cer­tain foods a trig­ger, many skip meals or ex­pe­ri­ence de­hy­dra­tion,” he noted, so that might help lower di­a­betes risk. “More work needs to be done in the area,” Rosen said. Dr Gerald Bern­stein is pro­gramme co­or­di­na­tor at the Fried­man Di­a­betes In­sti­tute at Lenox Hill Hos­pi­tal in New York City. He agree that, de­spite the French find­ings, “right now there is no clear phys­i­o­logic as­so­ci­a­tion that has been iden­ti­fied” link­ing the two dis­eases. “Cer­tainly, the stress of a mi­graine could cause the blood sugar to rise in peo­ple with di­a­betes but that’s as far as it goes,” Bern­stein said. Drs Amy Gelfand and El­iz­a­beth Loder, of the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cisco, and Har­vard Med­i­cal School, re­spec­tively, wrote an ac­com­pa­ny­ing jour­nal ed­i­to­rial. They pointed out that the di­a­betes-mi­graine re­la­tion­ship has been noted by doc­tors be­fore. “Headache prac­ti­tion­ers have long dis­cussed the rar­ity of pa­tients with type 2 di­a­betes in headache clin­ics,” the two mi­graine spe­cial­ists wrote. Gelfand and Loder the­o­rised that the high blood sugar that comes with di­a­betes might dampen the pro­duc­tion of a spe­cific brain protein that’s long been associated with mi­graine – but this link remains un­proven.

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