A new study shows people who suffer from migraine headaches may be at risk for brain lesions and infarctions, which are areas of the brain where the tissue has died.
Researchers studied nearly 400 randomly selected adults, ages 30 to 60. They grouped the patients into categories of having migraines with visual difficulties and having migraines with no visual difficulties. A control group was also included in the study. Participants had a brain magnetic resonance imaging, blood samples drawn, and a physical and neurological examination. Their examinations were conducted during migraine-free periods.
Researchers did not find a significant difference between patients with migraines and the control groups in overall infarct presence. However, migraine patients did have a higher presence of infarcts in the cerebellar region, the area responsible for the regulation of voluntary movement and the maintenance of posture and balance.
Overall, patients with migraines and visual difficulties who had more than one attack per month were at the highest risk for infarcts and were 13 times more at risk than the control group. The risk was also greater for migraine patients with no visual difficulties.In the battle of the sexes, women with migraines were twice as likely to have white matter lesions than the controls. Male controls and patients with migraines did not differ in the number of lesions.
Thus researchers conclude that based on the current evidence, further study into the possible etiologic mechanisms of brain lesions in migraine patients is required as they feel this will not only provide important clues about the pathophysiology of migraine but also contribute to management guidelines for migraine.