Migraine-associated brain changes not related to impaired cognition

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Migraine-associated brain changes not related to impaired cognition

So, women with migraines didn’t seem to experience a decline in cognitive ability through time compared to healthy controls, according to a 9-years follow-up study. Although the study did show that women with migraine had a higher likelihood of having brain abnormalities that appeared as ‘bright spots on MRI’

This is updated research from a study held in 2000 that illustrated women with migraines were more likely to have scattered areas of white matter changes on MRI. (add me into that stat). This initial study looked at 295 subjects and compared them to 140 sex and age-matched controls. People who had more frequent migraines had a higher risk of these brain changes on MRIs, perhaps suggesting the cumulative effect of migraine attacks.

In the current investigation, known as CAMERA-2, researchers sought to tease out differences between men and women, and to find out whether the type of migraine was associated with an increase in the volume of new white matter changes relative to that seen in the initial study. Researchers reassessed 286 of the original participants. Among them, 114 had migraine with aura, 89 had migraine without aura, and 83 were controls. Compared with baseline, women with migraines were twice as likely as those without such attacks to have an increase in the volume of diffuse white matter changes. However, this increase was still very small, said one of the study’s investigators, Lenore J. Launer, Ph.D., chief of the Neuroepidemiology Section at the National Institute on Aging (NIA).CAMERA-2 also showed no correlation between new brain lesions and migraine frequency. This finding may be due to the fact that structural changes to the brain arise not with each new migraine attack, but are the result of an ongoing process that occurs even during periods between attacks, Dr. Kruit said.

The only flaw in the design was participants age because were the brain changes associated with migraine? Or age, hypertension and/or diabetes? Which also are risk factors for white matter brain changes. 60% of the control group without migraines showed the progression of white matter lesions compared to 77% of migrainuers.


Bizarre.  I have recently done articles on the brain structural changes caused by FM, which do cause symptoms. I can see how migraines over time could cause structural changes… but puzzling ones it seems.


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