Dr. Mark J. Burish
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Neurosurgery
Several headache disorders appear to have strong ties to the biological clock. The most remarkable is cluster headache, an uncommon headache disorder where 82% of patients have headaches at the same time every day like clockwork. Medications that alter the circadian molecular machinery, like melatonin, are effective treatments for cluster headache and even for other headaches like migraine. And several lines of evidence suggest that the central biological clock in the hypothalamus, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, is important for these disorders. However, the circadian pattern of headaches has been largely unstudied. In a collaboration with Dr. Seung-Hee Yoo in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, we have developed a laboratory-based model of studying the circadian and neurophysiologic aspects of headaches using tissue from headache patients.