Scientists Discover Potential Source of Migraines

A board-certified family and osteopathic physician, Dr. John Fritz owns and operates a primary care practice in Jersey City, New Jersey. At his Jersey City practice, Dr. John Fritz draws on an in-depth knowledge of migraine treatments to offer patients access to any available therapy.

In early October of 2015, researchers from New York University and New Zealand’s University of Auckland released findings indicating that a certain neuropeptide may prompt the onset of migraine symptoms. These neuropeptides, PACAP and VIP, act as dilators on blood vessels in the brain, a process that before this study was widely thought to be a primary contributing cause of migraine headaches. However, study researchers found that rats who received PACAP experienced an increase in neuron activity and the onset of migraine-like symptoms. Rats who received VIP displayed no such symptoms.

These findings suggest that it is not blood vessel dilation that is the likely cause of migraine, but rather the activation of PACAP receptor PAC1. This receptor causes a firing of the pain signal in the brain’s trigeminovascular neurons, which in turn causes migraine’s characteristic symptoms. Researchers tested this theory by injecting subject rats with chemicals that blocked the PAC1 receptor, and doing so was found to inhibit the firing of the trigeminovascular nerve. Scientists see these findings as a potential jumping-off point for research into PAC1 blockers as a migraine treatment.


Performing Breast Self-Exams

Dr. John Fritz operates a private practice in Jersey City. Through his Jersey City office, Dr. John Fritz advises patients of the significance of regularly undergoing routine health screening, including the importance of performing breast self-exams to check for signs of breast cancer.

Doctors recommend that women check for lumps in the breasts monthly, or more frequently. This allows a woman to become familiar with the breasts and therefore be able to quickly identify any changes that may occur. If the woman notices a change, such as a lump, she can then seek medical attention to determine whether the change presents a serious concern.

Doctors recommend that women perform breast self-exams in the shower by making circles across the surface of the breast with the fingers. The woman should identify areas of that seem to have thickened or have formed into a knot or lump.

Additionally, using a bathroom mirror to perform a visual self-examination is another good idea. A woman should examine her breasts with her arms held up and also down by her side, keeping an eye out for dimpling, swelling, and other changes. She should also look for differences in how the nipples look.

Finally, a woman should periodically perform a breast-self exam while lying down and with an arm stretched up by her head. She should make small circles with varying levels of pressure and then switch sides. A doctor can provide additional instructions and advice on how to perform these self-examinations.