New Drug Could Save Migraine Sufferers From Horrors Of Bright Light

New Drug Could Save Migraine Sufferers From Horrors of Bright Light

If you've ever had a migraine, you've probably experienced photophobia, the painful sensitivity to light that sends you scurrying, eyes closed, to the darkest dungeon you can find. In that moment, you're probably wishing for a way to (temporarily) unplug your eyeballs and put an end to the agony. Researchers at The Salk Institute could have a potential answer: A compound that switches off light sensitivity without affecting vision.

Scientists have known for a century that the ability to sense light is separate from vision. Blind humans still tend to wake in daylight and sleep at night, and newborn mice scurry away from bright light before their eyes are developed enough to see. This light-sensing mechanism uses melanopsin receptors in the eye, which also control how the pupil reacts to different light levels. Research biologist Dr Satchin Panda and his team discovered that chemicals called opsinamides could knock out melanopsin's activity, removing the pupil's reaction to bright light, without disturbing vision in mice.

While clinical use is still far off, these light sensitivity blocking compounds could be a boon for migraine sufferers dealing with light sensitivity, as well as night shift workers who have difficulty sleeping when the sun's out. Then again, since we're all messing up our sleep cycles by staring at glowing screens all night and day, maybe this stuff will have a much broader impact. [MedicalXpress]


    I doubt this will be much good for migraines; in my own experience light sensitivity is irritating and an annoyance but compared to the extreme pain and nausea it's just so unimportant that it fades into irrelevance.
    Maybe it's different for others, though? Maybe the pain and nausea isn't as bad as the light issue? But then "classic" migraine, which is the type that has all the weird optical effects, is the minority type- "common" migraine (with no special optical stuff) is the majority type.

    This treatment might be better for something like jetlag.

      I can't say that I was ever a big migraine sufferer, but I did used to get headaches often. About ten years ago, I suffered a bleed in one eye and went to a specialist. They did blood tests and revealed I had an elevated Homocysteine level (it was 66). The specialist told me that (at the time) there was anecdotal evidence that a combination of low dose aspirin, vitamin B6 and Folic Acid could reduce that level, so I began taking them daily. A few years later I had a follow up test and the level had dropped to 12. An unexpected side effect of this cocktail, is that I haven't had a single headache in years. Not one and certainly no migraines. Since then, I have read studies that have proven the link between Homocysteine levels and migraines.

      A very simple solution. I can't say how long it took to have an effect. It certainly wasn't overnight. Best of all, they're just vitamins (apart from the Aspirin). Not to mention the fact that I'll have a healthy baby (Folic acid) and less PMS symptoms (B6). Almost makes me wish I was a woman.

    "wishing for a way to (temporarily) unplug your eyeballs and put an end to the agony"

    Thank you for a great new way of explaining to non-migraine sufferers what a migraine feels like!

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