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What you should know about dealing with migraines

Kate Kennedy

Kate Kennedy
Kate Kennedy, ARNP

Many people think that a migraine is “just a bad headache.” A migraine is a complex neurological disorder caused by abnormal brain biochemistry. A headache is just one of many symptoms that occur with a migraine. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, vision changes, numbness, tingling, speech changes, dizziness, and many more. In the past, migraines were thought to be a vascular disorder. It is now believed that changes in blood vessels may play a role in migraines but the pathophysiology of a migraine is much more complex than that, involving neurotransmitters and other chemicals in the brain, electrical impulses, inflammation and the trigeminal nerve.

There are many treatment options for migraines. Acute treatments are ones that are geared at taking the migraine away when it occurs. While over the counter medications such as Excedrin Migraine or Ibuprofen can work well for some people, many people with migraines need special medication called “triptans” that work on the chemical process that is occurring during a migraine. Preventative treatments are ...

Drug treatment and weight loss restores vision in a blinding disorder linked to obesity

Steven R. Hamilton

As many as 100,000 Americans suffer from a disorder called pseudotumor cerebri or idiopathic intracranial hypertension that can cause permanent blindness and chronic headaches. The disease primarily strikes obese women of reproductive age with symptoms of daily headaches, visual symptoms including transient blurring or blindness, double vision, and pulsating noises in one’s head. Up to 5-10% of these patients may have permanent visual loss due to optic nerve damage.
 
A recent national trial funded by the National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute has shown that a common water pill, acetazolamide, combined with a moderate but comprehensive dietary and lifestyle modification plan can restore and preserve vision in women with this disease. I was one of the local investigators for this trial along with Dr. Eugene May.
 
The symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri are thought to be due to high spinal fluid pressure around the optic nerves and brain due to impaired reabsorption of spinal fluid that is continuously being produced within the brain. This results in chronic headaches and swelling of the optic nerves that can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. Patients typically are ...

Swedish Set to Open State-of-the-Art Multiple Sclerosis Center; New Facility Has Been Under Development for Several Years and Largely Funded Through Philanthropy

Swedish News

SEATTLE – April 6, 2012 – Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) is set to open its new MS Center to patients. Carefully designed for easy accessibility and to promote the well-being of people with MS, the new 11,700-square-foot center gives SNI the ability to consolidate all of its MS services into one facility. An additional 1,500-square-feet of outside therapy terrace will provide a safe environment for patients to work with a therapist on improving their gait over different terrain.

The new center also enables scientists, researchers, physicians and patients to work collaboratively toward new treatment options for those diagnosed with MS. In a move that further establishes Swedish’s neuroscience program as a leader in the region, the MS Center at Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive facility of its kind on the West Coast and one of only a handful in the country.

Swedish Adds Seven New Doctors to its Medical Staff

Swedish News
 
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