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International researchers have studied the neurological events that trigger migraine headaches in mice.

Noting that a brief brain "interruption" in which neuronal activity stops temporarily alters the content of cerebrospinal fluid, a clear liquid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, the researchers found that this altered fluid travels through a previously "unknown gap" in the anatomy to the nerves in the skull, where it activates pain and inflammation receptors, causing headaches.

When the researchers analyzed the movement and content of the cerebrospinal fluid of the mice used in the experiment, they found that the concentrations of certain proteins in the fluid dropped to less than half of normal levels during migraine headaches.

"THIS IS A CHANGE"

Gregory Dussor, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Dallas who took part in the study, said in a statement that this study is "a shift" in how headaches occur.

Dussor pointed out that headaches are a general warning sign for many things in the brain that are not normal.

Study co-author Maiken Nedergaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, said: "Migraine is actually protective in this way. The pain is protective because it tells the person to rest, heal and sleep."

"Our results show that we have identified the primary communication channel between the brain and the peripheral sensory nervous system," Nedergaard said.

Nedergaard said that this is an important and previously unknown signaling pathway for the development of migraine headache and may also be associated with other headache diseases, adding that the study could be a pioneer in this field.

Editor: David Goodman