Migraine may permanently change brain structure

Migraine may have long-lasting effects on the brain's structure, according to a study published in the August 28, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Traditionally, migraine has been considered a benign disorder without long-term consequences for the brain," said study author Messoud Ashina, MD, PhD, with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. "Our review and meta-analysis study suggests that the disorder may permanently alter brain structure in multiple ways."

The study found that migraine raised the risk of , white matter abnormalities and altered compared to people without the disorder. The association was even stronger in those with migraine with aura.

For the meta-analysis, researchers reviewed six population-based studies and 13 clinic-based studies to see whether people who experienced migraine or migraine with aura had an increased risk of brain lesions, silent abnormalities or brain volume changes on MRI brain scans compared to those without the conditions.

The results showed that migraine with aura increased the risk of white matter brain lesions by 68 percent and migraine with no aura increased the risk by 34 percent, compared to those without migraine. The risk for infarct-like abnormalities increased by 44 percent for those with migraine with aura compared to those without aura. Brain volume changes were more common in people with migraine and migraine with aura than those with no migraines.

"Migraine affects about 10 to 15 percent of the general population and can cause a substantial personal, occupational and ," said Ashina. "We hope that through more study, we can clarify the association of changes to attack frequency and length of the disease. We also want to find out how these lesions may influence ."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Migraine linked to increased risk of depression in women

Feb 22, 2012

New research suggests women who have migraine or have had them in the past are at an increased risk for developing depression compared to women who have never had migraine. The study was released today and will be presented ...

Migraine triggers may not be as strong as you think

Jan 23, 2013

A new study suggests that triggers for migraine with aura may not be as strong as some people think. The research is published in the January 23, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academ ...

Good news: Migraines hurt your head but not your brain

Aug 10, 2012

Migraines currently affect about 20 percent of the female population, and while these headaches are common, there are many unanswered questions surrounding this complex disease. Previous studies have linked this disorder ...

Recommended for you

Link seen between seizures and migraines in the brain

15 hours ago

Seizures and migraines have always been considered separate physiological events in the brain, but now a team of engineers and neuroscientists looking at the brain from a physics viewpoint discovered a link ...

Neuroscience: Why scratching makes you itch more

21 hours ago

Turns out your mom was right: Scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that scratching causes the brain to release ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.