According to a study published in the august 28 online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, Migraine may have long-lasting effects on the brain’s structure.
As said by the study author Messoud Ashina, MD, PhD, with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, “Traditionally, migraine has been considered a benign disorder without long-term consequences for the brain”. The author adds, “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, it altered brain volume and brain lesions compared to people that do not have the disorder. The association was seen to be stronger in those that have migraine with aura.
Researchers reviewed six population-based studies and thirteen clinic based studies for the meta-analysis to see whether people who had migraine or migraine with aura had an increased risk of brain lesions, brain volume changes on MRI brain scans or silent abnormalities compared to those that do not have the conditions.
Compared to those without the conditions, the results showed that migraine with aurora raised the risk of white matter brain lesions by sixty-eight percent and migraine with no aura raised the risk by thirty-four percent. For those with migraine with aura compared to those without aura, the risk for infarct-like abnormalities increased by forty-four percent. Brain volume changes were seen to be more common in people with migraine and migraine with aura than those without migraine.
“Migraine affects about 10 to 15 percent of the general population and can cause a substantial personal, occupational and social burden” said Ashina. “We hope that through more study, we can clarify the association of brain structure changes to attack frequency and length of the disease. We also want to find out how these lesions may influence brain function” she adds.