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Migraine With Aura May Lead to Brain Lesions
Date:6/23/2009

Whether damage in women affects function remains unclear, researchers say

TUESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Women who've had migraines with auras have an increased risk of developing brain lesions, a new study has found.

Whether these small areas of damaged brain tissue affect function or cognition, however, remains unknown, the researchers added.

"Migraine used to be thought of as episodic, with no trace they'd occurred, but these data suggest that there may be tissue damage associated with migraine," said study author Lenore Launer, chief of neuroepidemiology at the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

"But, there are no known clinical implications from these findings," Launer added. "Our next step is to look at the functional significance of these lesions. They seem to be clinically silent for the most part, though it's possible they may be associated with some cognitive or motor impairment. It's something that needs to be investigated further."

The study, in the June 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that women who experience migraine with aura in middle age are twice as likely to have brain lesions late in life as those who never had migraines.

Migraine is a very common neurological disorder, according to the study. More than one in 10 adults and about one in 20 children have migraines, which are intense, periodic headaches. About a third of those who have migraines have what's known as an aura that precedes the migraine. Often the aura is a visual disturbance, such as flashing lights, but it can also be a physical feeling, such as dizziness or numbness. Recent research has found that migraine with aura is associated with an increased risk of stroke and coronary artery disease, according to background information in the study.

Launer and her colleagues followed a group of 4,689 male and female residents of Iceland starting in 1967, when th
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