A Diagnostics & Imaging Week
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Michelle Williams a $2.9 million grant for a five-year research project to examine possible linkages between the serious pregnancy complication known as preeclampsia and migraine.
Williams is a co-founder and co-director of Swedish's Center for Perinatal Studies (Seattle) and one of the world's leading authorities on preeclampsia and other pregnancy concerns. She is also a professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington.
The goal of the research is to evaluate whether, and to what extent, a maternal pre-gestational history of migraines and migraine symptoms during early pregnancy are associated with the risk of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a vascular disorder characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine starting around mid-pregnancy. It occurs in up to 8% of all pregnancies and, in addition to other hypertensive disorders, is the leading global cause of maternal and infant illness and death.
Migraine is a common chronic-episodic disorder characterized by severe, debilitating headaches. It is often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to activity and/or external stimuli. Between 14% to 25% of women suffer from some form of migraine, which is more common during childbearing years.
Starting this fall, Swedish will enroll approximately 2,000 women who are in their first trimester of pregnancy from obstetrics clinics affiliated with the medical center. As part of the study protocol, women who screen positive for migraine or indicate they have experienced it will have a follow-up interview to confirm the diagnosis, and then be interviewed about their medical history. Enrolled women will be followed through to delivery and information will be collected during in-person interviews using study questionnaires.
Earlier this year, Williams was awarded a $495,554 grant from the March of Dimes Foundation to fund a three-year research project to identify pre-conceptional risk factors and biological markers of preeclampsia and preterm delivery in China.