Sunday March 24, 2019

Why migraines are more common among women

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Migraine

New York, Feb 8 : Females are more vulnerable to certain stress-related and allergic diseases such as migraines because of distinct differences found in mast cells, a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system, says a study.

Mast cells are an important category of immune cells because they play a key role in stress-related health issues that are typically more common in women such as allergic disorders, auto-immune diseases, migraines and irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.

“Over 8,000 differentially expressed genes were found in female mast cells compared to male mast cells,” said lead researcher Adam Moeser, Associate Professor at Michigan State University in the US.

“While male and female mast cells have the same sets of genes on their chromosomes, with the exception of the XY sex chromosomes, the way the genes act vary immensely between the sexes,” Moeser noted.

A further in-depth analysis of the genes within the RNA genome — a primary building block in all forms of life — revealed an increase in activity that is linked to the production and storage of inflammatory substances, according to the study published in the journal Biology of Sex Differences.

These substances can create a more aggressive response in the body and result in disease.

“This could explain why women, or men, are more or less vulnerable to certain types of diseases,” Moeser said.

With this new understanding of how different genes act, scientists could eventually start developing new sex-specific treatments that target these immune cells and stop the onset of disease, Moeser said. (IANS)

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Childhood Maltreatment Strongest Risk Factor for Depression in Adulthood: Lancet

The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome

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Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression. Pixabay

Facing trauma in childhood can significantly change the structure of the brain, which may result in severe depression which could even be recurrent in adulthood, say researchers.

The results from MRI scan images suggest that both childhood maltreatment and recurring depression are associated with similar reductions in the surface area of the insular cortex, part of the brain that regulates emotion and self-awareness.

This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, which found childhood maltreatment one of the strongest risk factors for major depression in adulthood.

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Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is being closely monitored by health authorities amid rising suicides nationwide. Pixabay

“Given the impact of the insular cortex on brain functions such as emotional awareness, it’s possible that the changes we saw make patients less responsive to conventional treatments,” said lead researcher Nils Opel from the University of Munster in Germany.

The study included 110 patients aged 18 to 60 years. Of the 75 patients who experienced a relapse, 48 had experienced one additional episode, seven reported two episodes, and six experienced three episodes.

Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression.

depression
This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. Pixabay

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The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome.

Future psychiatric research should therefore explore how the findings could be translated into special attention, care and treatment that could improve patient outcomes, the study noted. (IANS)