Archive for November, 2009

h1

Insight into “Cannot Visualise” during Migraine Dream?

2009 November 27

I may have had an insight into my own “persistent episodic visual amnesia” (PEVA). This is what I call the problem talked about in the Visualisation FAQs page. “PEVA” is my own name for the problem, which others have shared here too. None of us have found any facts about a known medical condition.

One of the things that I notice is that I have vivid, full-colour dreams. But these dreams are almost always set in the distant past. They almost never take place in the period after my early twenties when PEVA first started. But in the early hours I awoke with a migraine. The dreams I had after I fell asleep were in the present. The setting was not the usual stereotype of a past family home. The characters in my dream were my current partner and one of her boys.

I am diagnosed with persistent migraine aura, and frequent and severe migraine. About half those who have commented on this site have a migraine diagnosis. This is a high number, but it is a statistically small sample. One of the ideas my family doctor has is that PEVA is due to my persistent aura. This is a constant electrical disturbance in the brain. In me, one way it shows up is through visual snow. For more information, please see the PMA & Visual Snow FAQs page.

So, it is interesting that I should have rare dreams of the present during a migraine. The attack was still there when I awoke after the dreams. I don’t know how that may work, as the theory is it is permanent aura that disrupt my memory. Also, it is not scientific. One example is not statistically significant. And one person’s anecdotal report is also suspect. But without facts we can find, it could be a start.

If anyone else reading this has PEVA, please could you let me know:

  • If you have been diagnosed with migraine or not,
  • If you have persistent aura such as visual snow or not,
  • If you have vivid, full-colour dreams or not, and
  • If your dreams are usually set in the past?

Take care.

h1

Open Journal Article: Mapping cortical hubs in tinnitus

2009 November 23

Abstract:

Background

Subjective tinnitus is the perception of a sound in the absence of any physical source. It has been shown that tinnitus is associated with hyperactivity of the auditory cortices. Accompanying this hyperactivity, changes in non-auditory brain structures have also been reported. However, there have been no studies on the long-range information flow between these regions.

Results

Using Magnetoencephalography, we investigated the long-range cortical networks of chronic tinnitus sufferers (n = 23) and healthy controls (n = 24) in the resting state. A beamforming technique was applied to reconstruct the brain activity at source level and the directed functional coupling between all voxels was analyzed by means of Partial Directed Coherence. Within a cortical network, hubs are brain structures that either influence a great number of other brain regions or that are influenced by a great number of other brain regions. By mapping the cortical hubs in tinnitus and controls we report fundamental group differences in the global networks, mainly in the gamma frequency range. The prefrontal cortex, the orbitofrontal cortex and the parieto-occipital region were core structures in this network. The information flow from the global network to the temporal cortex correlated positively with the strength of tinnitus distress.

Conclusion

With the present study we suggest that the hyperactivity of the temporal cortices in tinnitus is integrated in a global network of long-range cortical connectivity. Top-down influence from the global network on the temporal areas relates to the subjective strength of the tinnitus distress.

You can read the full article here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1741-7007-7-80.pdf

h1

Open Journal Article: Subjective health legacy of the Chernobyl accident: A comparative study of 19-year olds in Kyiv

2009 November 18

Abstract:

Background

Since the Chornobyl accident in 1986, the physical health of exposed children in Ukraine has been monitored, but their perceived health has not been studied. This study examines health perceptions of Ukrainian adolescents exposed to radioactive fallout in utero or as infants, and the epidemiologic and Chornobyl-related influences on self-reported health.

Method

We assessed three groups of 19-year olds in Kyiv: 262 evacuees from contaminated areas near the plant; 261 classmate controls; and 325 population-based controls. The evacuees and classmates were previously assessed at age 11. Structured interviews were conducted with the adolescents and their mothers (N=766), followed by general physical examinations (N=722) and blood tests (N=707). Proportional odds logistic regression and multi-group path analysis were the major statistical tests.

Results

The examination and blood test results were similar across groups except for a significantly elevated rate of thyroid enlargement found by palpation in evacuees (17.8%) compared former classmates (8.7%) and population-based controls (8.0%). In addition, four evacuees and one population control had had a thyroidectomy. Compared to controls, the evacuees rated their health the least positively and reported more medically diagnosed illnesses during the 5 years preceding the interview, particularly thyroid disease, migraine headache, and vascular dystony. The consistent risk factors (p<0.001) for these subjective health reports were evacuee status, female gender, multiple hospitalizations, and health risk perception regarding Chornobyl. All three groups of mothers rated their children’s health more negatively than the adolescents themselves, and maternal ratings were uniquely associated with the adolescents’ health reports in the adjusted models. In the longitudinal evacuee and classmate subsamples, path analysis showed that mothers’ health ratings when the children were age 11 predicted their later evaluations which in turn were associated with the adolescent self-reports.

Conclusion

The more negative self-evaluations of the evacuees were linked to a number of risk factors, including multiple hospitalizations, health risk perceptions, and epidemiologic risk factors. The increased rate of thyroid cancer and other diagnoses no doubt contributed to the evacuees’ less positive subjective health. The strong effect of the mothers’ perceptions argues in favor of developing risk communication programs for families rather than for mothers or adolescents as separate target groups.

You can read the full article here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2458-9-417.pdf

h1

Open Journal Article: Migraine pathogenesis and state of pharmacological treatment options (Link Corrected)

2009 November 16

Abstract:

Migraine is a largely inherited disorder of the brain characterised by a complex but stereotypical dysfunction of sensory processing. The most obvious clinical symptom often is head pain, but non-headache symptoms such as photophobia, phonophobia and nausea are clearly part of the typical presentation. This review discusses current pathophysiological concepts of migraine and migraine aura, such as a possible brainstem dysfunction and cortical spreading depression. Acute and preventive migraine treatment approaches are briefly covered with a focus on shortcomings of the currently available treatment options. A number of different receptors such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), TRPV1 and glutamate receptors are currently being targeted by potential novel migraine therapeutics. Prospects of this research are exciting and likely to improve the patient care.

You can read the full article here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1741-7015-7-71.pdf

h1

Changes to This Website (Updated: 2010 January 23 Saturday)

2009 November 13

Following the recent polling, I will be making these changes to this website over the coming months:

  1. The site will move to a new, dedicated web address. I will keep you up-to-date on its progress on this blog.
  2. When I’ve prepared both the design and updated, standardised pages, I will move them to the new site. The ‘old’ pages here will give a link to the new ones. The blog will still continue here for the time being.
  3. I plan to move the actual blog – including the daily news posts – to the new site at some point in the future.
  4. I’m also looking at setting up support forums and increasing the new website’s coverage. While sticking to science-based factual information, I want to extend the topics to most brain based illnesses and diseases. This is a long-term large project that will depend on gradually encouraging “patient experts” to help. I’m also hopeful that in time professionals may lend their help. I’ll post more on this later.