University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal - Analysis of the Pathomechanism and Treatment of Migraines Related to the Role of the Neuropeptide CGRP
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In general, migraines are a specific type of headache that involve a unilateral pulsing pain. This pain typically affects only one side of the head, although about 30% of patients may experience a bilateral headache1. Migraines have been found to last from 4 to 72 hours. Common symptoms associated with this pain include nausea, disturbed vision, vomiting, photophobia (hypersensitivity to light), and phonophobia (hypersensitivity to sound)1. Migraines are split into two different classes: the common and classic migraine. The majority of migraines are classified as common migraine. In addition, migraines can be described as having or lacking aura, which are neurological disturbances that are visual, motor, and sensory2. Common migraines are not typically accompanied with aura. The classic migraine comprises around 15% of total migraines and is thus the minority class of migraines1.

Migraines are typically caused by issues in the cerebral blood vessel walls, impairment in blood flow (that could be due to severe vessel contraction), abnormal platelet numbers, varying brain oxygenation, or varying metabolism levels2. Migraines can be caused in response to a single or combined effect of all of these issues, and varies depending on the specific case of migraine displayed and on the individual displaying it. However, in most cases, migraines have been found to involve blood vessels, either intracranial or extracranial, as well as information communicated by the sensory nerve fibers to the central nervous system2. Studies conducted through positron emission tomography (PET) have indicated that the activation of the brainstem and brain is involved in initiating migraines and that this activation is constant both with and without aura3. In this literature review, information from a variety of studies will be analyzed and discussed regarding the pathophysiology, treatment, and CGRP effects of migraines. Afterwards, these experiments will be summarized to determine and explain further research that should take place to make further progress in this field.