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Migraine With Aura Linked To Brain Lesions In Women

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 12:08 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Migraines, Headaches, Women's Health, Brain Lesions, Protecting Your Family

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IMAGE SOURCE: iStockPhoto / headache sufferer / author: Kaisphoto

New research suggests women who suffer from migraines with aura are at a greater risk of brain lesions when they are older.

The lesions appear in the cerebellum, a region of the brain that plays an important role in the integration of sensory perception, coordination and motor control.

The study findings are published in the June 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A migraine with aura is characterized by visual disturbances such as flashes of light, zig-zag patterns or blind spots. They may also be accompanied by other sensations such as numbness or tingling in parts of your body.

Migraines affect nearly 11 percent of adults and are more common in women than men. About one-third of individuals with migraines experience neurological aura symptoms before headache onset.

For the study, researchers looked at data collected from more than 4,500 Icelanders for 26 years. They found 23 percent of women who suffered migraines with an aura had lesions three decades later, nearly double the percentage of women who were migraine free.

Generally speaking, migraines have not been thought to have a lasting impact on the brain, according to the study. But recent studies show migraines may be caused by interrupted blood flow to the brain.

Such stroke-like interruptions in blood flow may lead to lesions forming on the aging brain, the report said.

An estimated 1.2 million to 3.6 million people suffer from chronic migraine headaches. The headaches can often disable sufferers, forcing them to retreat to a quiet dark room for relief.

Another recent study by Harvard researchers, found that people are more likely to visit emergency rooms with migraines in warmer weather.


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