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Migraine Sufferers Face Greater Blood Clot Risk
Date:9/15/2008

But condition doesn't hasten hardening of arteries, researchers say

MONDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Migraine patients face a higher risk for developing a blood clot in their veins, a team of Austrian and Italian researchers reports.

Prior studies have suggested that the absolute risk for a resulting stroke among migraine patients is actually quite low, but the current work turns conventional wisdom on its head by suggesting that a migraine diagnosis raises the risk for such potentially fatal clotting incidents -- known as venous thrombosis or thromboembolism -- while having little or no impact on the risk for developing any hardening or narrowing of the arteries.

"Our study refutes the widespread view that migraine [patients] are more likely to have hardening and narrowing of the arteries, [known as] atherosclerosis," noted study co-author Dr. Stefan Kiechl, from the department of neurology at Innsbruck Medical University, in Austria. "Alternatively, it suggests that migraine patients are more prone to develop blood clots in their veins."

"Because people that develop clots in [their] veins are also at an increased risk to develop clots in the arteries supplying brain and heart, our finding may in part explain the excess risk of stroke and heart attacks in migraine patients," Kiechl added.

Kiechl and his colleagues from Bruneck Hospital in Italy are publishing their findings in the Sept. 16 issue of Neurology.

The conclusions stem from an analysis of heart disease and neurological data collected in 2005 from 574 men and women living in Bruneck, a small village in the alpine region of northern Italy.

All the residents had been participating in an ongoing neurological study since 1990, and all were white and between the ages of 55 and 94.

After taking note of the residents' migraine history by means of a "headache interview," the researchers conducted high-resolution
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