The Headache Physiology Lab has a number of research projects related to understanding the causes of headache.
Features of Migraine
Migraine is a very common disease that most likely has many causes. We study migraines’ features and co-morbidities in an effort to understand why migraines occur.
Features we are studying include:
- autonomic responses,
- sex differences,
- and the effects of stress.
We are also interested in the comorbidity of migraine with stroke, epilepsy, and vascular malformations.
Post-traumatic headache is an epidemic in our military personnel who are exposed to blast injuries. Post-traumatic headache is also extremely common after civilian trauma.
We are investigating how traumatic brain injury appears to sensitize the nervous system, leading to a near-daily headache state that is remarkably similar to chronic migraine.
Cortical Spreading Depression As a Mechanism of Neurological Disease
Cortical Spreading Depression (CSD) is a massive wave of neuronal, glial, and vascular excitation that researchers believe causes the migraine aura.
CSD is also associated with traumatic brain injury, stroke, and subarachnoid hemorrhage.
More than 60 years after its discovery, it is still poorly understood.
Headache Treatment Research
Headache disorders desperately need new treatments. While our main focus is to understand the mechanisms of these diseases, we are also actively engaged in pragmatic approaches to identify new treatments.
We work in collaboration with our colleagues in the Anticonvulsant Drug Development Program to identify new treatments.