Food for thought as tests bring hope to migraine sufferers

Posted on: Wed, 04/05/2006 - 4:29am
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'This research empowers migraine sufferers to have more control over their condition'

Ian Briggs
FOR those who have ever suffered a migraine, the pain can sometimes be too much to bare.
Nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound are often painful side-effects, with a migraine in extreme cases lasting for more than a month.
But now a knight in shining armour has stepped forward, carrying the torch of science as its weapon against the migraine curse.
Bioscience company Yorktest Laboratories has completed what is believed to be the first extensive test into the link between migraines and food intolerance.
Yorktest, based at the Biocentre at York Science Park, studied 61 people known to have suffered with moderate to severe migraines over a two-month period.
The company, which claims to be Europe's only scientifically-proven food allergy testing service, used its foodscan test on its pat- ients.
The test uses a pin-prick blood sample to analyse antibodies and their reaction to foods.
The antibodies indicate that the body is unable to digest certain proteins correctly and each protein can be traced back to a particular food.
Following the tests, of those who eliminated the offending foods from their diet, 80 per cent reported some improvement in their migraines.
More than 60 per cent of patients who reintroduced the suspected foods into their diets reported the return of their migraine symptoms.
It is now hoped that Yorktest's work will see further tests carried out and that food testing in connection with migraines may be introduced on a wider scale in the future.
Ann Turner, director of the Migraine Action Association which part-funded the research, said many migraine sufferers used 'food diaries' to record which foods trigger migraines, but Yorktest's work was a step forward and should be developed further.
"This research shows that food testing can point patients in the right direction to avoid the long-winded, trial and error nature of removing a food from your diet for a few days, noting a reaction, and then either banning it from your diet if you get a headache, or eating it if you don't.
"This research empowers migraine sufferers to have more control over their condition."
Yorktest's foodscan can also be applied to test other food-related intolerances, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, acne and exhaustion.
Established in 1982, Yorktest employs 40 staff and has a turnover of more than

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