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Common Link Found Between Seizures And Migraines

First Posted: Oct 31, 2014 04:36 PM EDT

Recent findings published in the Journal of Neuroscience have now linked seizures and migraines.

"We wanted to make a more realistic model of what underlies migraines, which we were working on controlling," said Steven J. Schiff, Brush Chair Professor of Engineering and director of the Penn State Center for Neural Engineering. "We realized that no one had ever kept proper track of the neuronal energy being used and all of the ions, the charged atoms, going into and out of brain cells."

For the study, researchers examined how potassium and sodium play key roles in controlling the electricity in the brain. The study authors added that fundamental physics principles of conservation of energy, mass and charge work as electricity models in order to run nerve cells that monitor ions that pass in and out of the cells.

Following a seizure or migraine, the brain typically requires more energy sourced from oxygen to restore the ions to their proper positions.

Based on the new model, researchers also found seizures and spreading depression can be an underlying find in depression linked with migraine auras. The activities were part of a spectrum seen in nerve cell behavior.

"We have found within a single model of the biophysics of neuronal membranes that we can account for a broad range of experimental observations, from spikes to seizures and spreading depression," the researchers reported according to the press release. "We are particularly struck by the apparent unification possible between the dynamics of seizures and spreading depression."

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