How to predict tomorrow's migrane

A new model that measures stress from daily hassles may help forecast migraine attacks in those who develop them frequently.

Published in the aptly named journal, Headache, the findings suggest that it may be possible to predict the occurrence of tomorrow’s migraine based on today’s stress.

The researchers say their work supports the let-down phenomenon in predicting risk.

“We know that certain people are at greater risk of having an attack over other people, but within a person, we have not been able to predict increased risk for an attack with any level of accuracy,” says lead author Dr Tim Houle from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.

Ultimately, these findings should create additional treatment strategies, he adds.

Dr Houle and colleagues analysed data from 95 people using 4195 days of diary entries. Participants experienced a headache on 1613 (38.5%) days.

A simple forecasting model using either the frequency of stressful events or the perceived intensity of these events has promising predictive value, the authors say.

While most people report low-to-moderate levels of stress overall, it is greater on days preceding a headache, they add.

With refinement, the researchers say the model has the potential to allow for pre-emptive treatment of migraine attacks when someone is at greatest risk.

But they caution that the stress model in this analysis should be viewed as representing a first step of forecasting headaches and not a final model for widespread clinical use.

You can read more about the predictive model here.