New Insights Into Migraine And Risk Of Stroke

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Patients who have migraine with aura, but not those who have migraine without aura, have been found in several studies to have higher risk of cardiovascular disorders, including stroke. That risk may be 2 times that of a control group though low in an absolute sense because patients are relatively young without cardiovascular risk factors.

Now, a new study concluded that this increased risk applies to migraine with and without aura. It involved over 17,000 patients who had unspecified migraine. There was found to be increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, angina, or coronary revascularization procedures, and cardiovascular mortality ranging from 37% to 73% higher than the control group, which was women without migraine. Conclusion was that women with migraine of any type should be carefully evaluated for cardiovascular risk factors and treated as needed.

A second recent study came to a different conclusion. This consisted of 172 cases of female twins with and without migraine with aura, 34 twin pairs in which neither had migraine, and 139 controls without migraine. The frequency of silent brain infarcts, seen in several previous studies in perhaps 30% of women with migraine, was the primary outcome. The conclusion was that there was no association between these silent brain infarcts or white matter hyperintensities with migraine with aura.

See British Medical Journal, 2016, 353, with lead author T. Kurth; and Brain, 2016, 139, pages 2015-2030 with lead author D. Gaist.

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