Through an exciting and new research we have come to the hypothesis that there is an association between migraine and irregularities in the metabolism of certain lipids: it opens new avenues for research into possible treatments and biomarkers.

The research carried out by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, focused on a group of bioactive lipids, sphingolipids, which are critical components of cell membranes and also play a role in regulating energy homeostasis, the apoptosis, and inflammation.

It is already known for some time the close relationship between sphingolipids and neurological disorders (eg, Gaucher disease): also recent studies have suggested that even small changes of balance of sphingolipids may be involved in dementia, multiple sclerosis, obesity , and in pain.

Now with this study it was also demonstrated a change in the levels of sphingolipids in patients with migraine, implying in particular two subtypes of sphingolipids: ceramide and sphingomyelin.

The researchers say it is possible that migraine is a neurological disorder of ‘minor’ entity of dysmetabolism sphingolipid.

For the study, there were 52 women with episodic migraine (with an average of 5.6 headache days per month) and 36 women who never had a crisis headache: both groups underwent a neurological examination, have had a measurement of their body mass index, and have given blood samples for the measurement of various sphingolipids.

The results showed that the total levels of ceramide decreased in women with episodic migraine than those without headache disorders.

The researchers also tested the blood of a small random sample of 14 of the participants for a control of these lipids and were able to correctly identify those who had migraine or who were controls without the headache, on the basis of the levels of these types of lipids in the blood.

This is important because you may already be identified at the laboratory types of headache patients.

Essential, as in all types of headache, it is to have a careful clinical examination medical history, which may provide a good diagnosis: examination of sphingolipids in blood could be a great help.