Call Us: 888-888-DIZZY (3499)

MRI study examines brain differences in people with migraines.

Fox News (3/27, Doyle) reports that in a study published online March 26 in the journal Radiology, researchers examined "the cortical thickness and surface area of migraine sufferers, and found that some are likely to have brain abnormalities at birth, and some develop them over the course of time." Investigators "used MRI sequences to identify focal brain lesions in the white matter and measure brain volume of 81 subjects - 63 with migraines and 18 healthy controls. The study found that migraine sufferers do indeed have a reduced cortical surface area and cortical thickness of regions that are part of the pain-processing network in the human brain."

HealthDay (3/27, Norton) reports that "there were also differences among migraine sufferers. The exact location of the cortex abnormalities tended to differ between the half of patients who had aura and the half who did not. According to the researchers, those structural differences might help explain why the two forms of migraine manifest differently."

Women Who Experience Migraines Also More Likely To Have Small Brain Lesions.

The Los Angeles Times  (11/14, Bardin) "Booster Shots" blog reports, "Women who suffer from migraines are also more likely to have small brain lesions, according to" research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Investigators "believe that the lesions, which are visible on a magnetic resonance imaging brain scan and are called white matter hyperintensities, are caused by small strokes in the brain."

Bloomberg News  (11/14, Ostrow) reports, "In the nine-year study, magnetic resonance imaging showed that 77 percent of women with migraines had an increase in spots in their brain's white matter, compared with 60 percent of women who didn't have migraines." Additionally, "the findings...showed that the lesions don't affect cognitive function and the number, frequency and severity of the headaches don't affect the number of spots that appear over time."

The Huffington Post (11/13, Chan) reports, "The researchers noted that people who had migraines, but who only had a few attacks over the study period, still experienced the brain changes."

WebMD (11/8, Goodman) points out that "there was no significant association between migraines and changes seen for men."

MedPage Today (11/14, Phend) reports, "In an accompanying editorial, Deborah I. Friedman, MD, MPH, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and David W. Dodick, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., agreed that the findings should be reassuring for patients and physicians, calling the lesion burden seen in the women with migraine 'quite small and most likely clinically insignificant.'" Medscape  (11/14, Anderson) also covers the story.

Women who experience migraines with aura may face higher risk of heart attack, stroke.

Bloomberg News (1/16, Ostrow) reports, "Women who suffer from migraines with visual disturbances like flashing lights, called aura, may be at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke," according to a study scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting.

AFP (1/16, (afp)) reports, "The study involved 27,860 women, of whom 1,435 had migraine with aura." During "the course of the 15-year study, there were 1,030 cases of heart attack, stroke or death from a cardiovascular ailment."

HealthDay (1/16, Reinberg) reports, "After high blood pressure, migraine with aura was the strongest predictor for having a heart attack or stroke among these women. The risk was even more pronounced than that associated with diabetes, smoking, obesity and a family history of heart disease, the investigators noted."

MedPage Today (1/16, Smith) reports that a second study, also scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting, "found that migraine sufferers – and especially those with aura – who use combined hormonal contraceptives are at elevated risk for thrombotic events."

Medscape (1/16, Anderson) reports, "The risk appears to be highest with newer agents, such as drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol (YAZ, Bayer HealthCare)." WebMD (1/10, Boyles) also reports on the studies. 

Levels Of Certain Fats Tied To Episodic Migraines In Women, Small Study Suggests.

HealthDay (9/10, Preidt) reports that “measuring levels of certain fats in the bloodstream” called ceramides “might one day help spot women at high risk for migraines,” according to a study published online Sept. 9 in Neurology. In the study of “52 women with episodic migraine (average of nearly six migraines a month) and 36 women who did not have the debilitating headaches,” researchers found that “women with episodic migraines had lower levels of ceramides than those who did not have headaches.”

The Medical Daily (9/10, Scutti) reports that investigators “found each standard deviation increase in total ceramide levels equaled a 92 percent lower risk of migraine.” In addition, “another type of lipid found in the blood, sphingomyelin...showed a relationship to the painful headaches, but in this case an increased level of sphingomyelin was” tied to an increased migraine risk.

LiveScience (9/10, Blaszczak-Boxe) points out that should the study’s findings be confirmed, they “could lead to a blood test that could diagnose patients with migraines, the researchers said.”

Migraine Update