Older Migraine Sufferers May Have More Silent Brain Injury

Older migraine sufferers may be more likely to have silent brain injury, according to research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

In a new Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), a collaborative investigation by a team of researchers at the University of Miami, led by Teshamae Monteith, MD, and Columbia University Medical Center’s Mitchell Elkind, MD, professor of neurology and epidemiology, people with a history of migraine headaches had double the odds of ischemic silent brain infarction compared with people who said they didn’t have migraines.

The study looked at 546 participants, who had an average age of 72. Overall, around one third of migraine sufferers had silent brain infarctions.

Silent brain infarctions, which are symptomless brain injuries, are a risk factor for future strokes. Generally, migraine sufferers needn’t worry too much, though, as the risk of ischemic stroke in people with migraines is considered small.

The researchers suggested, however, that those with both migraine and vascular risk factors may want to pay even greater attention to lifestyle changes that can reduce stroke risk, such as exercising and eating a low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Read more at the American Heart Association.