Monthly Archives: December 2007

She Gracefully Surrenders

Winter
In fall, the earth begins the process of releasing all the things she has been holding onto throughout spring and summer, and by midwinter she has let everything go. She sits clean and undecorated in her simplicity, free of the frenzy of life that defines her in the warmer seasons. There is a quiet humility about the earth in the winter months, as animals and people retreat inside to escape the wet and sometimes freezing cold that takes hold. Inside our homes we create abundance and warmth in response to being effectively kicked indoors by the dark and cold that permeate the outdoors.

We burn fires in fireplaces and make heavy, hot foods to keep our bodies warm and insulated. We may find ourselves sleeping longer hours and yearning for downtime, just like the animals deep inside their caves and warrens taking a winter-long nap. Even if we live in a warmer climate, the longer nights and shorter days have the same effect on our cycles. If we surrender to this time as nature intended, we allow ourselves to slow down, sleep more, and lower the volumes on our busy minds. At the same time, we crave company in our dwellings, and the insulated warmth of the hearth tends to bring people together, creating more warmth and fostering connections that last through the coming year.

We laugh, eat, and talk, sleep, or catch up on reading, while outside our windows the earth grows dark earlier and stays cold longer, accepting as always of the process of change and her place within it. We might remember to learn from her as she so gracefully surrenders to the emptiness that precedes all form, the peace that precedes activity, the darkness that precedes the light. For everything she gives and teaches, we might offer a blessing, extending a goodly portion of the gratitude of this season her way, holding her in our hearts and thanking her for our very lives.

Sources: Daily Om

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cooking Veggies Help Boost Nutrients!

WASHINGTON: Contrary to conventional culinary wisdom, a new study by Italian researchers has found that cooking vegetables can preserve or even boost their nutrient content.

Traditional culinary view maintains that eating raw vegetables is more nutritious than eating cooked ones, but a small and growing number of studies suggest that cooking may actually increase the release of some nutrients, according to study leader Nicoletta Pellegrini, of the University of Parma in Italy.

However, she added that scientists are seeking more complete data on the nutritional properties of cooked vegetables.

For the study, Pellegrini and colleagues evaluated the effects of three commonly-used Italian cooking practices – boiling, steaming, and frying, on the nutritional content of carrots, zucchini and broccoli.

Researchers found that boiling and steaming maintained the antioxidant compounds of the vegetables but frying caused a significantly higher loss of antioxidants in comparison to the water-based cooking methods.
For broccoli, steaming actually increased its content of glucosinolates, a group of plant compounds touted for their cancer-fighting abilities, they discovered.

The research team said that their findings suggest that it may be possible to select a cooking method for each vegetable that can best preserve or improve its nutritional quality.

The study is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Foot Pain

Whether it’s you or a loved one dealing with foot pain, you’ll want to get a sense of the condition and what treatment options are available. Let us try to help you understand its different aspects and your treatment options.

Introduction:The foot is a complex structure of 26 bones and 33 joints, (it is made up of tarsal bones, metatarsal bones and phalanges ) layered with an intertwining web of over 120 muscles, ligaments, and nerves. It serves the following functions:

……………………….10041.jpg

1.Supports weight

2.Acts as a shock absorber

3.Serves as a lever to propel the leg forward

4.Helps to maintain balance by adjusting the body to uneven surfaces

Since the feet are very small compared with the rest of the body, the impact of each step exerts tremendous force upon them. This force is about 50% greater than the person’s body weight. During a typical day, people spend about 4 hours on their feet and take 8,000 – 10,000 steps. This means that the feet support a combined force equivalent to several hundred tons every day.

Causes of foot pain:

Many things can cause foot pain. Wearing shoes that don’t fit right is one of the most common reasons people (especially women) get foot problems such as calluses and bunions. With age, feet often grow wider. Also, being overweight can increase your chances of having foot problems or injuries. Go shopping for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest due to swelling. Heels on shoes shouldn’t be higher than 1 inch.

Let us jot down some important causes:

Nearly all causes of foot pain can be categorized under one or more of the following conditions:

*Shoes. The causes of most foot pain are poorly fitting shoes. High-heeled shoes concentrate pressure on the toes and are major culprits for aggravating, if not causing, problems with the toes. Of interest, however, was a British study, in which 83% of older women experienced some foot pain. In the study, 92% of them had worn 2-inch heels at some point in their lives. Foot problems, however, were significant even in women who regularly wore lower heels.

*Temporary Changes in Foot Size and Shape.
Temperature, and therefore weather, affects the feet: they contract with cold and expand with heat. Feet can change in shape and increase in size by as much as 5% depending on whether a person is walking, sitting, or standing.

*Poor Posture. Improper walking due to poor posture can cause foot pain.

*Medical Conditions. Any medical condition that causes imbalance or poor circulation can contribute to foot pain.

*Inherited Conditions. Inherited abnormalities in the back, legs, or feet can cause pain. For example, one leg may be shorter than the other, causing an imbalance.

*High-Impact Exercising. High-impact exercising, such as jogging or strenuous aerobics, can injure the feet. Common injuries include corns, calluses, blisters, muscle cramps, acute knee and ankle injuries, plantar fasciitis, and metatarsalgia.

*Industrial Cumulative Stress. Because of the effects of work-related repetitive stress on the hand, there has been considerable interest in the effect of work-stress on foot pain. According to one 2000 analysis, there is very little evidence for any significant impact of work on various foot disorders, including hallux valgus, neuroma, tarsal tunnel syndrome, toe deformity, heel pain, adult acquired flatfoot, or foot and ankle osteoarthritis. In general, the foot is designed for repetitive stress, and few jobs pose the same stress on the feet as many do on the hands. Nevertheless, certain professions, such as police work, are associated with significant foot pain. More research is needed.

Some Medical Conditions Causing Foot Pain:
Arthritic Conditions. Arthritic conditions, particularly osteoarthritis and gout, can cause foot pain. Although rheumatoid arthritis almost always develops in the hand, the ball of the foot can also be affected.

Diabetes.
Diabetes is an important cause of serious foot disorders. (See table: “Diabetes and Foot Problems.”)

Diseases That Affect Muscle and Motor Control.
Diseases that affect muscle and motor control, such as Parkinson’s disease, can cause foot problems.

High Blood Pressure. High blood pressure can cause fluid buildup and swollen feet. The effects of high blood pressure on the nervous and circulatory systems can cause pain, loss of sensation, and tingling in the feet, and can increase the susceptibility for infection and foot ulcers.

Risk Factors:

Nearly everyone who wears shoes has foot problems at some point in their lives. Some people are at particular risk for certain types of pain.

Age
The Elderly. Elderly people are at very high risk for foot problems. In one study, 87% of older people reported at least one foot problem. Feet widen and flatten, and the fat padding on the sole of the foot wears down as people age. Older people’s skin is also dryer. Foot pain, in fact, can be the first sign of trouble in many illnesses related to aging, such as arthritis, diabetes, and circulatory disease. Foot problems can also impair balance and function in this age group.

Prevention

The American Podiatric Medical Association offers the following tips for preventing foot pain:

*Don’t ignore foot pain — it’s not normal. If the pain persists, see a doctor who specializes in podiatry.

*Inspect feet regularly. Pay attention to changes in color and temperature of the feet. Look for thick or discolored nails (a sign of developing fungus), and check for cracks or cuts in the skin. Peeling or scaling on the soles of feet could indicate athlete’s foot. Any growth on the foot is not considered normal.

*Wash feet regularly, especially between the toes, and be sure to dry them completely.

*Trim toenails straight across, but not too short. (Cutting nails in corners or on the sides increases the risk for ingrown toenails.)

*Make sure shoes fit properly. Purchase new shoes later in the day when feet tend to be at their largest, and replace worn out shoes as soon as possible.

*Select and wear the right shoe for specific activities (i.e., running shoes for running).

*Alternate shoes. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day.

*Avoid walking barefoot, which increases the risk for injury and infection. At the beach or when wearing sandals always use sunblock on the feet, as you would on the rest of your body.

*Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments. Self-treatment can often turn a minor problem into a major one.

*It is critical that people with diabetes see a podiatric physician at least once a year for a checkup. People with diabetes, poor circulation, or heart problems should not treat their own feet, including toenails, because they are more prone to infection.

.
Shoes:

In general, the best shoes are well cushioned and have a leather upper, stiff heel counter, and flexible area at the ball of the foot. The heel area should be strong and supportive, but not too stiff, and the front of the shoe should be flexible. New shoes should feel comfortable right away, without a breaking in period.

Getting the Correct Fit
Well-fitted shoes with a firm sole and soft upper are the best way to prevent nearly all problems with the feet. They should be purchased in the afternoon or after a long walk, when the feet have swelled. There should be a 1/2 inch of space between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe (remember, the longest toe is not always the big toe), and the toes should be able to wiggle upward. A person should stand when being measured, and both feet should be sized, with shoes bought for the larger-sized foot. It is important to wear the same socks as you would regularly wear with the new shoes. Women who are accustomed to wearing pointed-toe shoes may prefer the feel of tight-fitting shoes, but with wear their tastes will adjust to shoes that are less confining and properly fitted.

Click to see the following links:
Insoles and Orthotics
Foot Injury Treatment
Toe Pain
Forefoot Pain
Heel Pain
Arch Pain
Ankle Pain

Joint Pains Treatment – Home and Ayurvedic Remedies

Natural healing of Foot Pain

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources :

http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/foot-pain-000061.html?ic=506019

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002094.htm

At Your Own Pace

The Tortoise And The Hare
The classic tale of the tortoise and the hare reminds us that different people take life at different speeds and that one way is not necessarily superior to another. In fact, in the story it is the slower animal that ends up arriving at the destination first. In the same way, some of us seem to move very quickly through the issues and obstacles we all face in our lives. Others need long periods of time to process their feelings and move into new states of awareness. For those of us who perceive ourselves as moving quickly, it can be painful and exasperating to deal with someone else’s slower pace. Yet, just like the tortoise and the hare, we all arrive at the same destination, together, eventually.

People who take their time with things are probably in the minority in most of the world today. We live in a time when speed and productivity are valued above almost anything else. Therefore, people who flow at a slower pace are out of sync with the world and are often pestered and prodded to go faster and do more. This can be not only frustrating but also counterproductive because the stress of being pushed to move faster than one is able to move actually slows progress. On the other hand, if a person’s style is honored and supported, they will find their way in their own time and, just like the tortoise, they might just beat the speedier, more easily distracted person to the finish line.

It’s important to remember that we are not actually in a race to get somewhere ahead of someone else, and it is difficult to judge by appearances whether one person has made more progress than another. Whether you count yourself among the fast movers or as one of the slower folks, we can all benefit from respecting the pace that those around us choose for themselves. This way, we can keep our eyes on our own journey, knowing that we will all end up together in the end.

Sources:Daily Om

Opening Your Heart

The poets and songwriters deduced it correctly; the ultimate irrevocable act of love is giving your heart to someone else. The heart is the fulcrum on which the pendulum of life swings. Its continued non-stop, efficient, self-regulating pumping action supplies essential oxygen to all the tissues of the body. It looks rather unromantic though — it is made of muscle and is the size of a clenched fist. It is nurtured and oxygenated by the coronary arteries which snake over its surface.

…………………………………………..24knowgita2.jpg
………………………Stents have reduced the need for bypass surgery to 1 per cent

At birth we have open, pliant coronary arteries, but a lifetime of abuse with a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, an unhealthy diet and obesity takes its toll. Fat deposits form plaques on the arterial walls making them irregular, narrow and stiff, eventually blocking them. The blood supply to the muscles of the heart is then compromised, causing ischemia with chest pain, sweating and a feeling of impending doom — the characteristic symptoms of angina. Heart disease is more likely to occur in diabetics, people with high blood pressure, smokers and those with elevated abnormal lipid profiles. The first attack can be fatal in 50 per cent of the people in the first two hours if they do not receive adequate emergency intervention.

Angina is the classic precursor to a heart attack. The pain can occur at night, or be precipitated by varying degrees of activity. It can initially be managed with medication like glyceryl trinitrate, sorbitrates, calcium channel blockers and clot-preventing medication like aspirin or clopidogrel. If you go to a cardiologist, he may opt for a coronary angiogram to outline the blood supply to the heart. This is performed by inserting a thin tube through an artery in the arm or leg and then guiding it into the heart. A dye is then injected, so that the arteries can be seen.

A catheter is inserted into a larger artery, usually the femoral artery in the groin. It has a tip called a balloon which can be dilated. This opens up the narrowed vessel and also pushes through the clot, dispersing it. This procedure can minimise or stop a heart attack if performed in time. This technique was first used in 1977. The results were not very encouraging. Restenosis (narrowing of the arterial walls once again) occurred in 30-40 per cent of the people within six months of the process. The procedure and technique have improved vastly in the last 30 years. Metal stents can now be inserted through the balloons. These are coiled springs which open up when released from the balloon. They function as a scaffold and hold the coronary vessel open. The bare metal stents reduce the risk of restenosis to less than 20 per cent.

Newer drug eluting stents — or medicated stents that slowly release their contents — are available. They are far more expensive, costing anything between Rs 70,000 and Rs 3.5 lakh, depending upon various factors such as the make of the stent, doctor’s fee, hospital charges, etc. There is still debate as to whether they are really worth the expense. At present the three major drugs present in the various stents are: paclitaxel, sirolimus or a drug called ABT580, depending on the manufacturer. Although each company claims that its stent is the best, they are all equally effective. The particular one used depends on the individual preference of the cardiologist. Restenosis occurs in less than 10 per cent of patients.

Stents once inserted cannot be removed. If blockage occurs in another part of the artery a new stent has to be placed there. The expertise of the cardiologist is necessary to estimate the size of the block and the vessel, choose a stent of the correct size, and insert it in the proper place. If any of these parameters are miscalculated there will be leaks, restenosis and inefficiency. The stents (drug eluting or bare metal) have reduced the need for bypass surgery to 1 per cent. Bypass surgery is still required in complicated cases especially when the left coronary artery is involved.

Survival after a heart attack before 1967 meant a lifetime of medication, restricted activity and a Damocles’ sword of sudden death. This scenario changed when the first Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery was performed in Cleveland Clinic in the US in the late 1960s. It became possible to surgically bypass the blocked, narrowed and inefficient areas of the coronary blood vessels, using the saphenous vein from the leg or the internal mammary artery from the chest wall. Depending on the number of blocks and the expertise of the surgical team, two, three, four and even five blocks can be bypassed.

The heart may have to be stopped and the entire circulation supported during the time of surgery with a heart lung machine. Today, surgical techniques have advanced, and minimally invasive CABG can be performed without stopping the heart.

Stents are not a miracle cure. For the best long-term results, patients still need to

• Control diabetes and hypertension

• Achieve their ideal body weight

• Continue their anticlotting medication of aspirin and clopidogrel.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

New Year’s Resolution Success Tip

Most of us will make a New Year’s resolution – maybe to quit smoking or lose weight – but only one in 10 of us will succeed, say researchers.

…………………………………_44324042_stubbing203.jpg
…………….. Only 25% of people succeeded in quitting smoking

But before you give up altogether, it is possible to boost your chances of success, UK psychologists report.

A year-long study of 3,000 people found men should set specific goals and women should tell the world about their resolution if they are to succeed.

And the key for everyone is not to leave the decision to New Year’s Eve.

Study leader Professor Richard Wiseman, who is based at the University of Hertfordshire, found more than half of those in the study believed they would be able to stick to their resolution.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS:-

 

Men should set specific goals

Women should tell others about their resolution

Choose a new approach

Do not leave the decision to New Year’s Eve

 

But by the end of the year, just 12% had been successful.

Giving up smoking seemed to be the hardest goal to stick to, with three-quarters of people lighting up again in the New Year.

Only 28% of people succeeded in losing weight and 29% of people who vowed to improve their fitness managed to do so.

Tips

Men were 22% more likely to succeed when they set goals for themselves, such as losing a pound a week rather than just saying they wanted to lose weight.

Telling others increased women’s chance of keeping resolutions by 10%.

They benefited from family and friends encouraging them to stick to their goals.

Professor Wiseman said it was possible to increase the likelihood you will keep your resolution.

“Deciding to revisit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.”

Choose something new, or approach an old problem in a new way.

“Think through exactly what you will do, where you will do it, and at what time.”

He said those who made vague plans were more likely to fail – for example instead of planning to go running twice a week you should plan to go running at specific times every week.

He added: “Men may be more likely to adopt a macho attitude and have unrealistic expectations, and so simple goal setting helps them achieve more.

“Likewise, women might be reluctant to tell others about their resolutions, and so benefit more from the social support provided by friends and family once they have made their goals public.”

Deciding to revisit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment. Choose something new, or approach an old problem in a new way

Professor Richard Wiseman

Click  read the resolutions  Compiled by Sakshi Khattar  published in The Times Of India

Sources: BBC NEWS . 28th. Dec’07

Doctors Fear Rickets Resurgence

Pregnant or breastfeeding women have been urged to boost their vitamin D intake amid warnings that cases of rickets in children are increasing.

…………………………………………_44322632_bump203.jpg
………….Most pregnant women should take vitamin D, say experts

Rickets is a bone disease mainly caused by a lack of the vitamin. It can lead to deformities, stunted growth and general ill-health.

Some minority ethnic groups in the UK, including Asians, are particularly at risk, says the Department of Health.

Doctors want pregnant women to take more vitamin D during winter months.

It is made by the skin in response to sunlight, but can also be found in certain foods.

Officials are urging women to check if they are eligible for free supplements from their GP or health visitor under the government’s Healthy Start scheme.

It provides vitamin D-rich milk and fresh fruit and vegetables as well as supplements for those on benefits or women who are under the age of 18 years old and pregnant.

Ultraviolet light

Common at the start of the last century, rickets was thought to be eradicated in the 1950s because of better nutrition.

But research suggests the incidence of rickets could be as high as one in 100 children among Asian, Afro-Caribbean and Middle Eastern ethnic minority groups.

Dark-skinned people do not absorb as much sunlight through the skin and may also wear clothing that limits exposure to the sun for cultural reasons.

Most people in the UK should get enough vitamin D from sunlight – it only takes 15 minutes of sun exposure to the arms, head and shoulders each day during the summer months to make enough vitamin D for good health.

But in winter months at latitudes of 52 degrees north (above Birmingham), there is no ultraviolet light of the appropriate wavelength for the body to make vitamin D in the skin, research shows.

There have been several reports of a “resurgence” of rickets in recent years.

In June 2007, doctors in Dundee said they had seen several cases and warned that guidelines on vitamin D for pregnant women were being ignored.

Free supplements

Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said the Healthy Start scheme was designed to improve the health of the most vulnerable families.

“We encourage people who are eligible to take advantage of the free vitamins, to minimise the risk of developing vitamin D deficiency and other conditions.

“We particularly encourage women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to take vitamin D, to protect the health and wellbeing of their baby and help them get the best possible start in life.”

She added that children under the age of four may also benefit from a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.

Dr Colin Michie, a paediatrician at Ealing Hospital, says the biggest problem is maternal shortage of vitamin D.

“Mothers and babies are simply not getting enough of this important vitamin.

“If a pregnant or breastfeeding woman is lacking in vitamin D, the baby will also have low vitamin D and calcium levels which can lead babies to develop seizures in the first months of life.”

For more information Click to SEE ALSO :
Rickets cases rise among Asians

Children ‘put at risk of rickets’

Vitamin D call for Asian children
Sources: BBC NEWS , 28th.Dec’07

Like Wine, Ham Too Complex On Nose

WASHINGTON: Like fine wine, ham is also far more chemically complicated than previously thought as far as its aromas are concerned, say researchers.

The study, led by Huanlu Song, a researcher in the College of Chemical & Environmental Engineering at China’s Beijing Technology & Business University, examined several kinds of ham to review the chemistry of their distinctive aromas.

The study was conducted on American country ham, which is produced in southern states and require curing and up to a year of aging to develop their flavours, and the compounds it releases.

“The aroma of country ham consists of a variety of compounds having different odour properties. A single compound cannot characterize the aroma,” Discovery News quoted Song, as saying.

In the study, hams from North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky manufacturers were included.

One test involved freezing pieces of ham in liquid nitrogen, grinding the mixture into a powder and then using special pumps to separate the ham odour’s individual chemicals. However, another test drew out the meat’s more acidic compounds.

The scientists compiled a list of all of the identified chemicals and their associated odour and flavour properties, similar to how wine tasters link wine characteristics to other well-known substance descriptions, like earthy or fruity.

For ham, the descriptions included: dark chocolate, fruity, fatty, vinegar-like, green orange, raw peanut, buttery, cheesy, cut grass, mushroom, popcorn, metallic, milky, cooked potato, cucumber, rosy, smoky, coconut-like, floury, peachy, burnt sugar, sour, tortilla-like and even faecal.

Song explained that most of these aromas and tastes arise from three chemical processes: the Maillard reaction, Strecker degradation and lipid oxidation.

The Maillard reaction happens when amino acids and sugar are heated to certain temperatures. Carbon atoms within the sugar react with organic amino acid compounds to produce what many cooks have described as the “golden brown deliciousness” of a range of odours and flavours most associate with caramelization.

Strecker degradation takes that reaction up a notch, to produce roasted, or even burnt, flavours and odours.

Lipid oxidation is the process of combining oxygen with fats on an atomic level. It’s one reason why ham smells so savoury and flavourful, but it can also indicate the presence of potentially dangerous free radicals, which are unstable molecules.

Song said different raw materials, pig species, processing technologies and even what the pigs eat all affect the final outcome of the ham.

Sources:The study is published in the Journal of Food Science.

Letting The Curves Take You

Control
Trying to maintain control in this life is a bit like trying to maintain control on a roller coaster. The ride has its own logic and is going to go its own way, regardless of how tightly you grip the bar. There is a thrill and a power in simply surrendering to the ride and fully feeling the ups and downs of it, letting the curves take you rather than fighting them. When you fight the ride, resisting what’s happening at every turn, your whole being becomes tense and anxiety is your close companion. When you go with the ride, accepting what you cannot control, freedom and joy will inevitably arise.

As with so many seemingly simple things in life, it is not always easy to let go, even of the things we know we can’t control. Most of us feel a great discomfort with the givens of this life, one of which is the fact that much of the time we have no control over what happens. Sometimes this awareness comes only when we have a stark encounter with this fact, and all our attempts to be in control are revealed to be unnecessary burdens. We can also cultivate this awareness in ourselves gently, by simply making surrender a daily practice. At the end of our meditation, we might bow, saying, “I surrender to this life.” This simple mantra can be repeated as necessary throughout the day, when we find ourselves metaphorically gripping the safety bar.

We can give in to our fear and anxiety, or we can surrender to this great mystery with courage. When we see people on a roller coaster, we see that there are those with their faces tight with fear and then there are those that smile broadly, with their hands in the air, carried through the ride on a wave of freedom and joy. This powerful image reminds us that often the only control we have is choosing how we are going to respond to the ride.

Sources: Daily Om

Clue to Migraine Headache Cause

Scientists may be a step closer to uncovering the cause of certain types of debilitating migraine headaches. A French team observed activation in the hypothalamus region of the brain as sufferers had a migraine attack.

…………………………………………_42034120_migrainespl203.jpg
……………………………………..Migraines can be debilitating

The hypothalamus has long been suspected as it regulates physiological responses to factors known to trigger headaches, such as hunger.

It is hoped the discovery, featured in the journal Headache, could lead to new treatments.

The researchers, from Rangueil Hospital, used a technique called Positron Emission Tomography (PET), which contrasts functional activity within the brain, on seven patients with migraine without aura, the most common type of migraine.

Previously, activation in the brain stem and midbrain, and a thickening in some areas of the cortex were seen in migraine sufferers.

The present study may have seen a more detailed pathogenesis of the condition for two reasons.

First, timing was crucial: to capture an attack as it happened, patients rushed to hospital without self-medicating, arriving on average around three hours after the onset of the migraine.

Second, the observed headaches were spontaneous, and not chemically induced as in other laboratory studies.

Lead researcher Dr Marie Denuelle said: “When you induce the attack you miss the hypothalamic activation.

“We suspect the hypothalamus may play a role in the start of the migraine attack.

“But to prove it we would need to do similar study before the start of an attack.”

Dr Andrew Dowson, director of headache services at Kings College Hospital, London, said: “It has been suggested for many years that the hypothalamus is involved in the early stages of migraine attacks.

“But there are other factors involved in the early generation of headache.”

Suicide headaches

Activation of the hypothalamus had previously only been seen in cluster headache, a different and altogether more crippling condition.

Cluster headache sufferers experience headaches on a regular basis: for certain months of the year in the episodic form, or every day at regular intervals in the chronic form.

So debilitating can the attacks be that they have been dubbed “suicide headaches” because some sufferers have taken their own lives.

The new evidence for hypothalamic activation in migraine may explain why some migraine drugs, particularly the triptans, can sometimes be effective at aborting a cluster headache attack.

However, Professor Peter Goadsby, of the Insitute of Neurology at University College London, said there were distinct clinical and physiological differences between cluster headache and migraine.

He said: “The area [of the hypothalamus] reported as activated in migraine is about 10mm more anterior than the cluster headache area.

“The hypothalamus is not one thing but a collection of discrete neurons.”

Professor Goadsby said a cascade of changes in the brain seemed to cause the migraine problem.

“It’s easy to think that migraine is a specific brain disorder, but it is a series of systems that go wrong – a system disorder.

“There is no single holy grail. Multiple structures are involved.”

Sources: BBC NEWS ( 25th.Dec ’07)