Pioneering Scots dentist Phil Lamey has found the next-best thing to a cure for migraine - a revolutionary test that will predict when one of the severe headaches is on the way.
Professor Lamey, who is dean of the Royal Victoria Dental School, Belfast, has been researching the causes of migraine for more than 20 years and already has one invention to his credit: an acrylic resin mouthpiece which restrains the jaw and prevents sufferers from clenching their teeth. Night-time clenching apparently results in a build-up, in the saliva, of a molecule that causes the headaches.
Migraine sufferers have a baseline quantity of the molecule ten times greater than that found in non-sufferers. Grinding the teeth produces a lot of saliva and the molecule gets into their system, dilating blood vessels throughout the body and in the brain, where the result is a migraine.
The Lamey mouthpiece is not successful in all cases, however, unlike the new test, which promises to be of universal benefit.
A commercial form of the test is still being developed but, once available, this will offer a simple and convenient method of assessing the quantity of the offending molecule in the saliva.
Used first thing every morning, the test will indicate whether an attack is likely to occur during the following 24 hours, prompting the
sufferer to take his or her normal anti-migraine drugs, if necessary, to prevent the headache developing.
The principle has already been evaluated during the past three years among thousands of migraine sufferers and the test has been found to be 100% effective. If sufferers use it correctly, every day, they should never get another migraine.
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First Published in September 2006
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