Physics and headaches—I'm afraid for many people, who hear these two words, they think of them in one and only one combination, namely that physics causes a headache. Think about this. If I were to say that, for example, literature, Goethe and Shakespeare give me a headache, everyone would look at me as a complete philistine. While one usually gets away with saying that physics causes a headache. Physics is woven into what makes us human beings Let me elaborate... Read more
ABOUT Markus Dahlem
Markus A. Dahlem studied physics in Germany. He worked in mathematical biology, biomedical engineering, computational neuroscience, and neurology in the US, Brazil, Great Britain, and Germany.
Having broad expertise in both mathematics and neurology, he is interested in neuromodulatory techniques that begin to revolutionize the treatment of patients with refractory primary headaches.
Together with Klaus Podoll he founded the Migraine Aura Foundation, a non-profit organization, with the goal to provide material that helps patients to recognize and understand their neurological symptoms during migraine.
Currently, he is at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in the Cardiovascular Physics Lab leading an independedd research group "Dynamics and Neuromodulation of Migraine" supported by the Bernstein Network within a German-USA Collaboration in Computational Neuroscience.
Markus Dahlem: All Posts
Sufferers from many neurological diseases and mental disorders face significant stigma. Discrimination related to these conditions can act as a barrier to receiving treatment. Terrible events like the crash of the Germanwings flight 9525 remind us why we need to raise more awareness. Michele Bachmann's facebook post is not just sad. As new revelations start to unfold it becomes tragically ironic, moreover these revelations point to an increasingly important medical problem. Guess whom I was reminded of as evidence began to emerge... Read more
There can be no doubt, mobile healthcare (mHealth) will change medicine in general and migraine in particular. But how? Ten years ago, I thought about this for the first time. Together with others, we wrote a business plan for a startup company whose main product should have been an—well, today, I would call it an “app”. Back then, I may have used the words “smart client application”. The product was a mobile electronic headache diary combined with a method to... Read more
We have a new preprint online. In this study, we explore with computer models why protocols for the use of medical devices that treat migraines should be personalized. Our numerical simulations suggest that in migraine pathological activity nucleates in hot spots and traverses the convoluted cortical surface like being in a labyrinth. As a result, accessible target structures for neuromodulation are like fingerprints, they are individual features of each migraine sufferer. Within the scientific community, the preprint can and should... Read more
We had a workshop on “Cortical Spreading Depression (CSD) and Related Neurological Phenomena” at the Fields Institute in Toronto, Canada. All talks are available online here. CSD is a phenomemon that links neuronal activity in the brain during migraine with aura to stroke and epilepsy. The common factor is disturbed ion homeostasis in the cortex. The Fields Institute in Toronto is an international centre for research in mathematical sciences, which may sound surprising as this workshop is seemingly about neurology. In fact, we had and needed... Read more
We have a new paper out: N. Hübel, E. Schöll, and M.A. Dahlem, Bistable Dynamics Underlying Excitability of Ion Homeostasis in Neuron Models, PLOS Comp. Biol. 10, e1003551, 2014. With this paper, we hope to set the stage for modeling a phenomenon known as “spreading depression”. Spreading depression is neither It's an unfortunate name because spreading depression is neither. It's not a process that does spread out like perfume spreads around a room or a particle wave packet spreads out in free space. We would... Read more
Is eating chocolate a migraine trigger or a symptom? We put a new manuscript on arxiv. Its central message is that in migraine we should expect a blurring of usually opposing distinctions such as trigger and symptom. Migraine is an inherently dynamical disease with a complex network of interdependent events. There is no linear course from upstream to downstream events. In this manuscript, we describe a behavior caused by a ‘tipping point’ and how it explains causality confusion between triggers... Read more
We put a new manuscript on arxiv. Niklas Hübel and I investigate an extension to the classical theory by Hodgkin and Huxley (Nobel Prize 1963) that in its original version describes nerve impulses (spikes). Spikes manifest communication between nerve cells. Their underlying mechanism is an all-or-non phenomenon, also called “excitability”. Excitability as a mechanism describes how a certain excitable state persists for some time following an input signal, a suprathreshold stimulation that, however, is terminated at some point long before... Read more
“It's like something you'd see on Star Trek”. That's how it was described five years ago in this video: therapeutic magnetic stimulation in migraine. This technique is investigated for much longer. Now, yesterday, the FDA allowed marketing of the first transcranial magnetic stimulator for migraine with aura. And only for migraine with aura, as I understand it—I will get back to this point. The decision is based on a new study published in “Headache” that concludes: “Two decades of clinical experience with sTMS [single... Read more
In a new paper, we suggest how to integrate methods form computational neuroscience with neuromodulation (i.e., electrical and magnetic stimulation of the brain) for the next generation of non-drug treatment in migraine. In particular, we propose a strategy to employ the new theoretical concept of dynamical network biomarkers as early-warning signals being utilized for neuromodulation. What is a dynamical network biomarker? It is a specific signal that occurs during transitions. Migraine is mainly characterized by sudden and recurrent transitions into episodes... Read more