Eleanor Hall - Nearly two million Australians suffer this painful condition in a year, but all is not lost, new research shows. Infact long time sufferers may also stand to gain from the excruciating pain.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore showed that women who suffered the ordeal of migraine attacks throughout their life had better cognitive abilities compared to those who did not suffer the head ache.
The team, led by Dr Amanda Kalaydjian, looked at almost 15,000 women who were evaluated with cognitive tests spread over 12 years. Nearly 200 women had been suffering migraine headaches for many years.
The study did not find any significant deterioration in the brain function, especially the areas concerned with memory in long-time migraine patients. This is thought to be due to modifications in the patient's life to combat migraine- medication, lifestyle changes and diet alterations, which could have sparked a positive trend in the functions of the brain.
Professor James Lance, a consultant in neurology at the Prince of Wales Hospital said ," I think that they're using a blunt tool that is designed to pick up dementia at one end of the spectrum, not just mild degrees of decline in memory or cognitive ability that we might all experience over the passage of the years. Anyway, I think the good news for migraine sufferers is there's no evidence that they do have any mental deterioration. I'd be a bit cautious about saying they're going to do better than the rest of the population, but still it's encouraging from that point of view."