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There is no condition of such magnitude - yet so shrouded in myth, misinformation, and mistreatment - as migraine.
— Joel R. Saper, MD, Chair, MRF Medical Advisory Board

abdominal migraine a type of migraine that mostly affects young children and involves moderate to severe abdominal pain, with little or no headache. It is often one of the first signs that the child may have a predisposition to migraine.

acute treatment a type of treatment that implements the use of drugs to relieve migraine symptoms

allodynia extreme pain after a light touch that is normally not painful

astrocyte a very-branched, star-shaper glial cell

aura usually visual, it is a warning of a migraine headache that appears as flashing lights, zigzag lines, or a temporary loss of vision, along with numbness or trouble speaking.

autonomic occurring involuntarily. Autonomic nervous system dysfunction is frequently associated with various types of migraine.

basilar-type migraine a type of migraine, occurring primarily in young women, that causes symptoms of abnormal brain stem functioning such as double vision, loss of peripheral vision, numbness, imbalance, vertigo, loss of consciousness, or difficult speaking.

biofeedback a process that increases an individual’s voluntary control of physiologic states such as
blood pressure, pain response, brainwaves, and muscle tone.

blood-brain barrier a naturally-occuring protective network of blood vessels and cells that filters
blood flowing to the brain’s tissues.

cephalgia head pain, headache

cerebral cortex the part of the brain that functions chiefly in coordination of sensory and motor information

cervicogenic headache a type of headache caused by structural irregularities in either the neck or head.

chemokine a group of cytokines produced at sites of inflammation that improves the movement of white blood cells

chronic migraine a migraine that occurs 15 or more days a month over a 3-month period.

cluster headache sudden, extremely painful headaches that occur in a closely grouped pattern several times a day and at the same times over a period of weeks.

comorbid the presence or affect of one or more disorders or diseases in addition to the primary disease or disorder

complimentary treatment a type of treatment that do not use drugs, but instead treats migraine with biofeedback, relaxation techniques, acupuncture, exercise, and a proper diet.

computed tomography (CT) a type of diagnostic imaging that uses X-rays and computer technology to produce two-dimensional images of organs, bones, and tissues.

cortical spreading depression (CSD) a wave of increased brain activity that slowly spreads from the back toward the front of the brain’s surface and may be the basis for migraine aura.

corticothalamic feedback information processed by stimulatus to the cerebral cortex and the thalamus

cytokine a category of protein molecule used extensively in intercellular communication

dura outermost membrane surounding brain and spinal cord

efficacy  the capacity to produce an effect.

endogenous growing from the inside, internal

epidural hematoma excessive bleeding between the brain’s protective coating and the skull.

episodic migraine a migraine that comes and goes

ergot derivative drugs drugs that bind to the neurotransmitter serotonin and help to decrease the transmission of pain messages along nerve fibers.

ganglion a network of cells that form a nerve center in the nervous system, especially near the brain or spinal cord

genome the entirety of an organism’s hereditary information encoded in DNA or RNA

genotype the genetic makeup of an individual

glial cells provide support and protection, nutrients and oxygen for the brain’s neurons;
destroy diseases and remove dead neurons

glutamate receptors a key neuro-transmitter located on the membrane of a cell

hemicrania continua one-sided headaches that are chronic or continuous and respond to indomethacin treatment.

hemiplegic migraine
a type of migraine causing temporary paralysis on one side of the body.

hypnic headache a rare form of headache that awakens individuals at night (also called "alarm-clock headache").

ice cream headache a painful headache brought on by changes in blood flow that result from a sudden chilling of the roof of the mouth.

medication overuse headache (MOH) a migraine caused by the overuse of drugs (more than 3 times a week). While the medication may help to relieve the headaches temporarily, over time the underlying headache becomes worse and occurs more frequently, creating a vicious cycle of medication use and head pain. The pain will actually improve when the medication is stopped.

meninges the three layers of membrane that cover the brain and spinal cord.

menstrual migraine
a migraine that affects women around the time of their period.

microglia a type of cell that acts as the first and main form of immune defense in the central nervous system

migraine headaches that are usually pulsing or throbbing and occur on one or both sides of the head. They are moderate to severe in intensity, associated with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise, and worsen with routine physical activity.

migraine equivalents the non-headache symptoms of a child, such as stomach aches, nausea, or dizziness, which are indicators of an existing predisposition to childhood migraine

neural depolarization a brain cell reacting to a sudden change in stimulus

neuroglia the supporting structure of nervous tissue, consisting of a fine web of tissue enclosing neuroglial cells.

neuron nerve cell an electrically excitable cell that transmits information by electrical and chemical signaling

neurosteroid a brain steroid which plays a role in controlling anxiety and depression.  Changes in neurosteroid levels also appear to play a role in premenstrual syndrome.

neurotransmitters chemicals in the brain that helps nerve cells communicate with each other.
new daily persistent headache a type of treatment-resistant chronic headache marked by daily pain that can last for years.

nociceptors nerve fiber endings that receive and transmit pain signals.

ophthalmoplegic migraine an uncommon form of migraine featuring a droopy eyelid, large pupil, and double vision that may last for weeks after the headache pain is gone.

opioid a synthetic narcotic, resembling the naturally occuring opiate, that acts as a pain reliever.

paroxysmal hemicrania a rare form of headache that usually begins in adulthood and is marked by one-sided attacks that typically occur 5 to 40 times a day.

pathophysiology the functional changes associated with or resulting from disease, severe injury, or a syndrome.

phenotype the genetic makeup of an individual expressed in the person’s physical or outward appearance

phonophobia fear of sound, extreme sensitivity to sound

photophobia fear of light, extreme sensitivity to light

polymorphism the existence of at least two distinct phenotypes in a population that results from varying genotypes

postdrome the period following the headache.

premonitory meaning before. Some individuals with migraine experience premonitory symptoms up to 24 hours prior to headache pain.

preventative treatment a type of treatment that uses drugs taken daily to reduce the number of attacks, lessen the intensity of pain, and prevent the onset of another migraine.

primary exertional headache headache brought on by fits of coughing or sneezing, or by intense physical activity such as running or lifting.

primary headaches headaches that occur on their own with no detectable underlying cause, such as migraine, tension-type headache, and the trigeminal autonomic cephalgias.

primary stabbing headache also called "ice pick headache" or "jabs and jolts" headache for its extremely intense pain that develops suddenly and generally lasts 1 to 10 seconds.

retinal migraine a type of recurring migraine, affecting only one side of the head, that is characterized by attacks of visual loss or disturbances in one eye.

secondary headaches headaches that are caused by an underlying condition or disease.

serotonin a neurotransmitter present throughout the body and especially the brain that plays an important role in headache and migraine, mood disorders, regulating body temperature, sleep, vomiting, sexuality, and appetite.

status migrainosus a migraine lasting more than 72 hours.

subdural hematoma bleeding between the brain and its protective membrane covering.

tension-type headache a primary headache that is band-like or squeezing and does not worsen with routine activity. It may be brought on by stress.

thalamus largest subdivision of the front part of the brain that serves to relay impulses to and from the cerebral cortex.

trigeminal nerve the nerve responsible for sensation in the face

trigeminothalamic relating to nerve relays to the thalamus gland

trigger something that brings about a disease or condition

triptan a family of drugs used to treat migraines and cluster headaches by binding to serotonin
receptors and preventing or stopping nerve tissue inflammation and subsequent changes in blood vessels.

vascular blood vessels or the flow of blood

Some information provided by Headache: Hope Through Research, NINDS. Publication date October 2009.

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