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IHC 2021 | Developments in proteomic research of migraines: endocannabinoid system & sex hormones

Gisela Terwindt, MD, PhD, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands, discusses the latest biomarker studies and the importance of the endocannabinoid system in understanding the comorbidity between depression and migraines. Prof. Terwindt suggests that a better understanding of the endocannabinoid system is essential in identifying new treatments and preventing chronification of migraines. Further studies have been done into sex hormones based on evidence that females are three times as likely to develop migraines, therefore highlighting the importance of sex hormones which need to be studied further. This interview took place during the International Headache Congress 2021.

Transcript (edited for clarity)

In my presentation, I will discuss several biomarker studies and platforms. One of them is, for instance, the endocannabinoid system that we studied. And I think the endocannabinoid system is extremely interesting because it’s also implicated in depression. And as you might know, there is a high comorbidity between migraine and depression. Also, patients who have this comorbid condition of depression are more likely to chronify...

In my presentation, I will discuss several biomarker studies and platforms. One of them is, for instance, the endocannabinoid system that we studied. And I think the endocannabinoid system is extremely interesting because it’s also implicated in depression. And as you might know, there is a high comorbidity between migraine and depression. Also, patients who have this comorbid condition of depression are more likely to chronify. I think getting more knowledge about this system might be helpful, again, to identify new treatment pathways for our patients, and also might be able to help to prevent chronicification of migraine. I think this is one of the biomarker studies which I’m extremely interested in and enthusiastic about.

Another example, which we just started, is the studies on sex hormones. As you may know, for instance, in migraine, the majority of patients are females. There are three times more females affected with migraine than males, and all these females also report to us that they consider sex hormonal changes to be very important in the propagation of migraine attacks. We do not know what kind of sex hormone levels are important in this relationship, so I think we actually need to study this more closely, not only looking at estrogen and progesterone but doing a much more thorough search into the sex hormonal studies.

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Disclosures

Leadership or Board position in other society, committee or advocacy group: Board member of Dutch Headache Society, Advisory member of Dutch Headache Alliance.
Membership of any professional bodies, special interest groups or mutual support organizations: Dutch Neurologist Society, Dutch Headache Society, European Headache Society.
Consultancy: Novartis, Teva, Allergan, Lilly, Lundbeck.
Research support paid to institutions: Dutch Brain Foundation, Dutch Hearth Foundation, Dutch Research Council, IRRF, Dioraphte.
Royalties or licenses: Up to date (RVCL-S), Dutch Neurology Handbook.
Patents planned, issued or pending: E-diary (patient journey) collaboration with Interactive Studios (Dutch Company).
Participation on a Data Safety Monitoring Board or Advisory Board: CGRP Education and Research Forum.
Clinical trials involvement: WHATstudy (independent study with support of the Dutch Brain Foundation and the Dutch research council) on the effect of hormonal treatment in migraine, National PI in the Alleviate and Chronicle studies by Lundbeck on episodic and chronic CH.
Relationship with scientific journals: Regular reviewer for Cephalalgia, J Headache Pain, Headache, Neurology, Lancet (Neurology), Brain.
Commercial interest in companies, partnerships and other forms of business: E-dairy Patient Journey with Interactive Studios.
Gifts received from companies, partnerships and other forms of business: Presenter for satellite symposia/webinars with Springer Media (Mednet)/Ashfield MedComms.