magnesium levels in the blood have long been connected to headaches
and migraines. However, studies attempting to correlate magnesium levels
and the various types of headaches have shown inconsistencies. The
puzzle was solved when new laboratory techniques were able to separate
the levels of bonded magnesium from the serum ionized, or free, magnesium.
Subsequent studies showed the magnesium level relevant to headaches
and migraine treatment was the serum ionized magnesium.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Migraines: The Breakthrough
Program that Can Help End Your Pain
by Alexander Mauskop, MD and Barry Fox, PhD
Warner Wellness, Time Warner Book Group, 1271 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, New York 10020
Softcover; c. 2001; $14.95; 260 pp.
The incidence of migraine headaches in this country is no small matter.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Migraines,
25 million Americans suffer from this problem and spend over $20 million
a year seeking relief. In the 1980s, the number of people suffering
from migraines increased 34% for men and 56% for women. The authors
of this book, Alexander Mauskop, MD and Barry Fox, PhD, may have answers
that could not only reduce the incidence of migraines, but reduce the
overall expenditures as well. It all begins with education.
The education starts with a proper diagnosis from a physician. We learn
there are many different types of headaches, and even when the specific
of migraine is made, there are several types of those. If migraine is diagnosed,
the physician determines if it is migraine with or without aura, the visual
disturbances that occur in 15% of the cases. Other types of migraines would
be considered, such as basilar, which produces dizziness, double vision, and
poor coordination. Another type is the hemiplegic migraine, which makes moving
one side of the body difficult during an attack. No matter what type of migraine
a person may have, migraines should be regarded as a whole-body syndrome.
The full picture of what causes migraines is not yet known, but the authors
offer the latest working theories. Though a migraine may feel it is caused
by the blood vessels in the brain, it is actually the blood vessels in the
head, near the brain, that are the culprits. The Vascular Theory, which describes
the contraction and dilation of the vessels and the resulting inflammatory
response, was once the most popular theory, but has become secondary. Now there
is the Serotonin Theory, the Neural Theory, and the Unifying Theory, which
More than any other reason, however, people will read this book for advice
about relief from their migraines. The authors offer a seven-step strategy
called the Banishing Migraines Program, which combines treatment and lifestyle
changes that can prevent or reduce the severity of migraines. The seven steps
of the program are as follows:
1. Get a proper diagnosis from a medical
2. Use the triple therapy.
3. Identify and avoid your migraine triggers.
4. Eat to avoid migraines.
5. Take the edge off.
6. Walk it off.
7. Use medicines as necessary.
therapy" advised in the second step is integral
to this program and was developed by Dr. Mauskop at his New York
When he was not getting very good results from standard medications,
he first turned to magnesium and found through established research
and his own research,
that magnesium indeed could play an important role in preventing migraines
and reducing their severity. The herb feverfew, which has been known
a successful headache treatment for hundreds of years, was added
to the regimen to strengthen
the therapy. Then, recent research showed riboflavin was able to prevent
migraines, and it was added as well.
The three components – magnesium, feverfew, and riboflavin – are
combined to form the triple therapy, which is to be taken daily in oral supplement
form and likely for years. The triple therapy is discussed in great detail
with emphasis on the important role of magnesium. Dr. Mauskop found in his
studies that those patients lowest in magnesium benefited the most from magnesium
infusion. He also found that the standard measure of total magnesium was not
adequate. After new laboratory techniques were developed, it was possible to
separate the bonded magnesium levels from serum ionized magnesium, or free
magnesium, levels. Mauskop's studies were then able to confirm
that the free magnesium levels were more relevant to migraine treatment
magnesium level. It also became possible to look at the ratio of the
serum ionized magnesium and serum ionized calcium, which must maintain
balance for appropriate muscle contraction.
The other steps in the program are discussed and offer an education that
should give people suffering migraines greater control in their lives.
start by teaching the reader to identify the triggers that are unique to
each person. The triggers can include environmental triggers such as pollution
perfumes, or stress and food triggers. For all of these, the authors provide
steps to accurately identify them, such as using an elimination diet to
uncover food triggers. A person whose trigger is exertion and exercise
to use isometrics as warm-up, and those with environmental triggers can
learn to clean the environment of offenders.
As a specialist in the area of migraine headaches, Dr. Mauskop is also
a realist. He knows that reduction in the number of migraines and lessening
still leaves a treatment gap that can be – and is often – filled
with medications. He provides a thorough list of the medications used
for stopping a migraine in-progress and for preventing a migraine altogether.
should provide a much-needed reference for anyone working their way through
the numerous drugs available to treat migraines. For each medicine, he
lists the other names of the drug, the type of medicine it is, the usual
maximum dose, the consequences of overdose, any side effects, a profile
of the type of patient who should not take the drug, and a list of the
should not be taken while using the particular drug.
As director of the New York Headache Center, Dr. Mauskop has obviously
dedicated himself to the problem of headaches and migraines. It is apparent
has also dedicated himself to the care of his patients and all who
suffer migraines. In this book, he is sharing a wealth of information