As if the
brutal pain of migraines weren’t bad enough. Now research says the
headaches may cause brain scaring. Stroke is a well know side effect of
migraine episodes, now brain lesions are associated with migraines
REUTERS Published: January 28, 2004
Researchers have identified brain lesions in some victims of
migraines, a finding that could indicate that those severe headaches can
be a symptom of progressive brain-damaging disease, a new study says.
The research, which has possible implications for treatment, involved
295 Dutch adults 30 to 60 years old, some of whom had migraines along
with vision problems while the others had migraines without any such
problems. They were compared with 140 similar people who were
Using magnetic resonance images, the researchers found that for
patients with both migraines and visual problems, the risk of cerebral
infarction — the death of tissue due to lack of oxygen when a blood clot
blocks an artery — was 13 times as high as the risk within the group
that had no migraines at all.
The study, by Dr. Mark Kruit of Leiden University Medical Center in
the Netherlands and his colleagues, is being published in the current
issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
One of the paper's co-authors, Lenore Lauer of the United States
National Institutes of Health, said of the finding: "It means we may
need to shift the way people think about migraines. They're thought of
now as episodic — people get a headache and that's it."
In reality, she said, the problem may be a chronic one, and "one of
the future questions to ask is about the path and type of treatment that
may be most useful."