One out of three people who suffers with migraines experiences migraines with aura. Diana Borrego, a psychology major who conducts research at FIU’s Neuronal Mass Dynamics Lab, is one of them. An aura is a short-lived sensory experience, such as tingling sensations over the body or flashes of light, that occurs before or during the actual migraine.

Under the supervision of Jorge Riera, graduate director and associate professor in the College of Engineering & Computing’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, Borrego is researching these types of headaches, known as cortical spreading depression. They begin at the back of the head and slowly move forward, lasting approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Once the wave passes, many patients report experiencing sensitivity to light.

We know there are gene mutations that may be the cause of these ‘tsunami’ migraines,” Riera explains. “Once we understand the mechanism, the next step is to learn how to stop or treat the disorder.” Read more at FIU News.