An IRL roller coaster.
Compared to sluggishly climbing to the top of a real world roller coaster, the biting moment when you are suspended in the sky. Air, and scream-ravaged lead, a digitally simulated roller coaster ride seems pretty boring. But what if these virtual roller coasters were usefulread to help scientists learn more about migraines? Yeah, that's a little cooler.
A study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology arranged in 40 people for a simulation of roller coaster ride - half of whom regularly suffered from migraines. In the study, no one actually suffered from migraine, but the migraine-prone participants reported more motion sickness and dizziness than the participants who did not have a headache.
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The researchers also found that during on hikes, migraine-prone participants had more nerve cell activityits in some areas of the brain and less in others. The researchers say more study of these changes is needed, but the discovery is a step in the right direction. "By identifying and localizing these changes, our research could lead to a better understanding of migraine, which in turn could lead to the development of better treatments ", article co-author Arne May, professor at the University of Hamburg in Germany said in a press release.
Millions of people regularly suffer from migraines, May said, and those who suffer from headaches often complain of problems balance, dizziness and "misperception of their body 's place in space ". . "In the study, people with migraine suffered an average of four headaches per month.
During their virtual roller coaster ride, participants tended tohesitated ears with headphones, lay inside a scanner and watched simulations for about half an hour. They heard the sound of the car rubbing against the rail and watched animated scenes leading up, down, left and right.
The researchers performed brain scans of each participant using functional magnetic resonance imaging , which detects activity in the brain by looking at changes in the blood flow. Next, participants took a questionnaire about their perceived symptom levels, such as motion sickness and dizziness.
About 65% of participants with migraines also felt dizzy during the virtual ride. This dropped to 30% in people who don't have headaches. Participants were asked about the intensity of their symptoms for headache.nsports on a scale of 1 to 180, and migraine-prone people averaged a response of 47, compared to 24 for the control group. People with migraines also experienced longer and more intense symptoms.
Looking at brain scans, researchers observed changes in nerve cell activity in certain areas. People who regularly suffer from migraines outside of the simulated roller coaster have increased activity in five areas of the brain, including areas involved in visual processing.
The changes in nerve cell activity correlated with migraine disability and motion sickness scores, according to the study.
May said the researchers also observed increased nerve cell activity in people with migraine in the pontine nuclei, an area of the brain that helpsregulate movements and other motor activities. The increase "could be linked to abnormal transmission of visual, auditory and sensory information in the brain," he said.
"Future research should now focus on larger groups of migraine sufferers to see if our findings can be confirmed," May said in the statement. Meanwhile, before I pass judgment on a virtual version of the roller coaster again, I'll remember how it could potentially unravel the mysteries of migraine.