Headache

14 November 2012

Women with migraines linked to change brain tissue

Women suffering from migraines are more likely to experience changes to their brain tissue, though these do not appear to cause long-term damage to their mental condition.

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Women suffering from migraines are more likely to experience changes to their brain tissue, though these do not appear to cause long-term damage to their mental condition, a study said Tuesday.

The study of 286 women and men, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that women with migraines were more likely to have brain changes that appeared as bright spots on magnetic resonance imaging.

"We've known for a while that women with migraine tend to have these brain changes as seen on MRI," said Linda Porter, pain health science policy adviser in the Office of the Director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which helped fund the study.

Previous studies have found a link between the bright spots known as hypersensitivities and risk factors for atherosclerotic disease, increased risk of stroke and cognitive decline.

How the study was done

"An important message from the study is that there seems no need for more aggressive treatment or prevention of attacks," said Mark Kruit, a principal investigator for the study who is also a neuroradiologist from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, which led the study.

The researchers were careful to stress that the brain changes that trigger the bright spots seen on MRI scans are unknown, and that the matter requires more research.

People with migraine-associated brain lesions did not demonstrate significant losses in cognitive abilities such as memory, concentration and attention compared to those without migraines, according to the study.

Unlike women, men with migraines had no greater incidence of brain changes than other men without migraines of the same age.

(AFP, November 2012)

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Dr Elliot Shevel - Founder and Medical Director - The Headache Clinic, (Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town) South Africa. The Headache Clinic is a multidisciplinary practice dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of Primary Headaches and Migraines. Dr Shevel is also the main author of all scientific publications generated by his team. Tertiary Education - Dr Shevel holds both Dental and Medical degrees, and practises as a specialist Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon.

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