Navigation Links
Having Both Migraines, Depression May Mean Smaller Brain

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Migraines and depression can each cause a great deal of suffering, but new research indicates the combination of the two may be linked to something else entirely -- a smaller brain.

Already aware that people with migraines face double the risk of depression, scientists wanted to determine if having both conditions together affected total brain volume. The difference in size -- about 2 percent -- isn't alarming, study authors said, but needs further research to determine if the disparity causes any meaningful health effects.

"There are several potential explanations why those with both conditions have smaller brain volume," said study author Larus Gudmundsson, a research associate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. "There could be some genetic factor driving the whole thing. It could be related to pain mechanisms [in the brain]. It's also possible there are social and economic reasons."

The study is published in the May 22 online issue of the journal Neurology.

More than 36 million Americans -- about 12 percent of the population -- are estimated to suffer from migraine headaches, which can be debilitating, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Meanwhile, major depression affects 15 million people, and Gudmundsson estimated that perhaps 3 percent to 4 percent of Americans suffer from both conditions.

Gudmundsson and his colleagues analyzed data from Iceland on about 4,300 older adults at two time points. At an average age of 51, participants were assessed for migraine headache incidence and about 25 years later were asked about their lifetime history of major depressive disorder. A full-brain MRI scan was taken at that later point to measure brain volume, when participants were between 66 and 96 years old.

Compared to those with no history of migraines or depression, those with both conditions had brain volumes about 2 percent smaller. There was no difference in the total brain volume when comparing people with only one of the conditions to those with neither condition.

Although the study found a connection between brain size and the combination of migraines and depression, it did not show a cause-and-effect relationship, as one expert noted.

"We certainly know that migraine sufferers tend to have smaller brains than non-migraine sufferers. But I'm not sure this study confirms that, apart from a neurodegenerative process, the two diseases act to do anything to increase the rate of [brain shrinkage] with aging," said Dr. Dara Jamieson, an associate professor of clinical neurology and director of the headache center at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, in New York City.

"The people they were imaging [with MRI] were quite old -- 66 to 96 -- and you can expect brain atrophy in that group," added Jamieson, who was not involved with the study. "Maybe there's something to be said for these disorders accelerating brain atrophy ... but to take away that because of migraine and depression that your brain is smaller is unnecessarily glum."

Study author Gudmundsson, who's also a guest researcher at the U.S. National Institute on Aging, pointed out that those with migraines and depression may not suffer brain shrinkage since it's possible that their brains are smaller from birth.

"The clinical impact needs to be determined," he added. "We have to keep in mind that several studies have looked at migraine and cognition [thinking ability] and have not found a difference in cognition. That is reassuring."

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about migraine headaches.

SOURCES: Larus Gudmundsson, Ph.D., guest researcher, U.S. National Institute on Aging, and research associate, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md.; Dara Jamieson, M.D., associate professor, clinical neurology, and director, headache center, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; May 22, 2013, Neurology, online

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Men benefit more than women from having authority on the job
2. Women Abused in Childhood at Higher Odds of Having Child With Autism: Study
3. Having Older Grandfather May Raise Childs Autism Risk: Study
4. Obese Black Women at Higher Risk for Having Very Large Babies
5. Pacific Shaving Company Launches New Premium Shaving Care Line for Women
6. Cycle Technologies Announces New Research on Why Having a Plan for Your Fertile Days is Key to Successful Use of Their Natural Birth Control Method - CycleBeads®
7. Simple Tips for Smoother Shaving
8. Obese moms risk having babies with low vitamin D
9. Artist Brushstrokes Launches Exclusive Beauty Strokes H.I.S Shaving Brushes on
10. Having Babies Sit Up May Help Them Learn
11. Minority Patients at Higher Risk of Having Ambulances Diverted
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Having Both Migraines, Depression May Mean Smaller Brain 
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... According to an article published on ... claim against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, claiming that any states ... are breaking the clause in the law prohibiting the denial of coverage for pre-existing ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... there are professionals who believe that with innovative technologies and under the right ... patient to get the benefit of a dual-approach to his or her therapeutic ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... It’s official: Tattoo taboo ... — a number even greater among Millennials (a whopping one in three aged 18 ... more people who are dissatisfied with their ink. In fact, RealSelf , the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... For the ... is why Hollister Incorporated has launched the VaPro Plus Pocket™ touch free hydrophilic ... the VaPro touch free catheter portfolio,” said Michael Gresavage, Vice President North America. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Lutronic, a leading innovator of aesthetic ... addition to the devices for sale in the United States. Clarity is a ... 1064 nm Nd:YAG lasers, into a single platform that is easy to own and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2015)... 2015 TB Alliance and its partners ... medicines in the correct doses. The improved treatments ... set by the World Health Organization (WHO) in ... administer and affordable. The availability of these products ... by UNITAID. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... and VANCOUVER , Dec. 1, 2015 ... OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: OGXI ) announced today ... on the pre-planned interim futility analysis of the intent-to-treat ... safety issues were identified by the DMC. Both the ... final results are expected in the second half of ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 01, 2015 ... the "Spinal Muscular Atrophy Market - ... 2015 - 2023" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Spinal ... Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2015 - 2023" ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: