Daily Health Headlines

Migraines Linked to Changes in Brain Structure

👤by Serena Gordon 0 comments 🕔Thursday, August 29th, 2013

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- People with migraines -- either with or without an aura preceding the headache -- show changes in the structure of their brains on imaging tests, researchers say.

A new review of previous research shows that people who have migraines have abnormalities in the brain's white matter, lesions that resemble previous strokes, and changes in the volume of areas of their brains.

"The clinical significance of these changes is unclear," said senior study author Dr. Messoud Ashina, an associate professor and director of the human migraine research program at the Danish Headache Center and Glostrup Hospital, in Copenhagen. "It is not clear how and why these lesions develop, what they are and what long-term consequences they have for individuals with migraine. Therefore, I do not think the patient should be concerned, but treatment and control of migraine is recommended," he added.

Results of the study were published online Aug. 28 in the journal Neurology.

Migraine is a common neurological disorder. It causes one-sided, throbbing headaches, according to study background information. These headaches may or may not be preceded by an aura, which is described as a visual disturbance, such as flashing lights or zigzag lines.

The latest review of the research includes 19 studies on migraines. All of the studies included the use of MRI scans to identify changes in the brain.

The review found that people who had migraines were more likely to have changes in their brains than were people who didn't have migraines. Those who had migraines with auras appeared to be more likely to have these changes than those who had migraines with no auras, but the association wasn't found to be statistically significant, according to Ashina.

Only one study of those reviewed looked at the effect of treatment. This study found no changes to the brain as a result of anti-migraine therapy.

Dr. Alon Mogilner, a neurosurgeon and director of the NYU Langone Center for Neuromodulation, in New York City, pointed out that "this study provides more proof that patients with migraines have brain abnormalities on MRIs. The question is: Is that why they have migraines, because of these abnormalities? Or, do they get migraines, and then these changes happen?" Mogilner said.

"Most doctors believe these changes are nothing to worry about, but it would be nice to see if, over time, these changes correlated with the severity of migraines or with treatments," explained Mogilner, who was not involved with the study.

"If you have the [stroke]-like lesions, most neurologists will test you to make sure that you don't have any other problems or risk factors that might set you up for a stroke down the road. But, I don't think this should cause patients any more concern," he added.

Dr. MaryAnn Mays, a staff neurologist at the Center for Headache and Pain at the Cleveland Clinic, agreed that people with the stroke-like abnormalities should be assessed for stroke risk factors, but added, "in this study, I didn't see any increased risks. I don't think patients have to worry about these lesions."

Mays said she was happy to see that one study in the review followed patients for about nine years and didn't see any changes in thinking or memory even though brain lesions had been seen on the MRIs.

Although the study found an increased risk for certain brain changes among people who have migraines, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

A second study in the same journal issue looked at a completely different aspect of migraine -- why income seems to affect the incidence of these debilitating headaches. As with other research, this study confirmed that migraines were more prevalent in people with lower household incomes. Low income was defined as less than $22,500 a year.

What was more of interest to the researchers, however, was whether the migraines came first and affected the ability to work -- or if the stresses of living on a low income contribute to the development of migraines.

Because the incidence of migraine is higher in people with lower incomes, and pain from migraine is more severe and disabling in people with lower incomes, the authors suggested that the development of migraine is probably linked to physical or psychological stressors from living on a low income.

However, the good news from the study is that remission of migraine wasn't linked to income. The authors suspect that whatever causes migraines to develop may be different than whatever helps them go away.

Article Credits / Source

Serena Gordon / HealthDay

Serena Gordon wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Messoud Ashina, M.D., associate professor, and director, human migraine research program, Danish Headache Center and Glostrup Hospital, Copenhagen; Alon Mogilner, M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgeon, and director, NYU Langone's Center for Neuromodulation, New York City; MaryAnn Mays, M.D., staff neurologist, Center for Headache and Pain, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; Aug. 28, 2013, Neurology, online

View More Articles From Serena Gordon 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Migraine Headaches Articles

Migraine and Stroke Risk Linked Again

Migraine and Stroke Risk Linked Again0

TUESDAY, Nov. 15, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Women who experience migraines have more than double the risk of suffering a stroke, new research shows. The finding adds evidence to the suspected link between these two conditions. Although it's not ...

Study Questions Use of Migraine Meds in Kids, Teens

Study Questions Use of Migraine Meds in Kids, Teens0

THURSDAY, Oct. 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A new study raises questions about the effectiveness of medicines commonly prescribed to prevent migraines in children and teens. The 24-week clinical trial involving 328 patients found no significant ...

More Kids and Teens Heading to ER With Headaches

More Kids and Teens Heading to ER With Headaches0

FRIDAY, Oct. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A growing number of American children with headaches are being seen at pediatric emergency departments and admitted to the hospital, researchers report. The researchers at the Children's Hospital of ...

Mouth and Gut Germs May Be Linked to Migraines

Mouth and Gut Germs May Be Linked to Migraines0

TUESDAY, Oct. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- People with migraines have higher levels of certain microbes, or germs, in their mouths and digestive systems, new research suggests. Specifically, the analysis of data from the American Gut Project ...

For Migraine Sufferers, Is a Chiropractor's Touch All in the Mind?

For Migraine Sufferers, Is a Chiropractor's Touch All in the Mind?0

TUESDAY, Oct. 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- People with migraines sometimes seek a chiropractor for help, but a small study suggests that any pain relief they get might be a placebo effect. When researchers pitted real chiropractic manipulation ...

View More Migraine Headaches Articles

0 Comments

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!