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Chronic Migraine Associated with REM Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation can lead to changes in the levels of key proteins associated with the pathology of migraine, according to new research reported at the American Headache Society's 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting in Los Angeles.

Sleep deprivation can lead to changes in the levels of key proteins associated with the pathology of migraine, according to new research reported at the American Headache Society’s 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting in Los Angeles.

The research was led by Paul L. Dunham, PhD, and his team at Missouri State University’s Center for Biomedical & Life Sciences. The team sought to understand why sleep disturbance increases the risk of migraine and may trigger migraine.

"Previous clinical data support a relationship between sleep quality and migraine," said Dr. Durham, in a press release, "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, in a press release. "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."