“Glutamate plumes” as a potential origin for migraines
Mice that get migraines have helped scientists in the US to uncover what might be going on in the more than 10 per cent of us who suffer from the condition. What K.C. Brennan at the University of Utah has done is to make a genetic change in his mice, so they mimic the make-up of one group of humans who suffer regular migraines. By watching the brains of these animals, they’ve found that, periodically, surges appear of an excitatory nerve signal called glutamate. This, they speculate, causes overstimulation of the nearby nerve cells, starting the neurological equivalent of a Mexican wave that ripples across the brain. As it does so, it activates pain pathways that cause the ensuing headache.
(tags: glutamate neurotransmitters neurology brains health medicine mice migraines headaches)