Women with migraines did not appear to experience a decline in cognitive ability over time compared to those who didn't have them, according to a nine-year follow up study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The study also showed that women with migraine had a higher likelihood of having brain changes that appeared as bright spots on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a type of imaging commonly used to evaluate tissues of the body.
"The fact that there is no evidence of cognitive loss among these women is good news," said Linda Porter, Ph.D., pain health science policy advisor in the Office of the Director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which provided funding for the study. "We've known for a while that women with migraine tend to have these brain changes as seen on MRI. This nine-year study is the first of its kind to provide long-term follow-up looking for associated risk."
"An important message from the study is that there seems no need for more aggressive treatment or prevention of attacks," said Mark C. Kruit, M.D., Ph.D., one of the principal investigators, and a neuroradiologist from Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands, which led the study. Dr. Kruit and associates evaluated MRIs for changes in the white matter, brainstem, and cerebellum that appeared on the scans as bright spots known as hyperintensities. Previous studies have shown an association between such hyperintensities and risk factors for atherosclerotic disease, increased risk of stroke and cognitive decline.
The extent of MRI brain findings increased slightly with time, according to the population-based study that tracked 286 men and women with and without migraines.
Men with migraines had no greater incidence of such changes compared with age-and sex-matched controls. Although female participants with migraine in this study were more likely to have hyperintensities, there was no clear relation to the frequency of migraine attacks, the type of migraine or how they were treated.
Standardized measures of cognitive abilities such as memory, concentration, and attention did not show significant losses among people with migraine-associated lesions compared to those without migraine. The brain changes that give rise to the bright spots seen on MRI are unknown. More research is needed to find out if these are related to ischemia and ischemic stroke risk, according to the researchers.
The findings, which appear in the Nov. 14th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, update observations from an investigation conducted in 2000 showing that women with migraines were more likely than age-matched controls to have scattered areas of white matter changes on MRI scans. That initial population-based study, known as the Cerebral Abnormalities in Migraine, an Epidemiological Risk Analysis (CAMERA-1), screened and evaluated 295 men and women with migraine and compared them with 140 age- and sex-matched controls. In that study, people who had more frequent migraines also had a higher incidence of changes seen on their MRIs, suggesting that migraine attacks could have a cumulative effect.
In the current investigation, known as CAMERA-2, researchers sought to tease out differences between men and women, and to find out whether the type of migraine was associated with an increase in the volume of new white matter changes relative to that seen in the initial study. Researchers reassessed 286 of the original participants. Among them, 114 had migraine with aura, 89 had migraine without aura, and 83 were controls.
Compared with baseline, women with migraines were twice as likely as those without such attacks to have an increase in the volume of diffuse white matter changes. However, this increase was still very small, said one of the study's investigators, Lenore J. Launer, Ph.D., chief of the Neuroepidemiology Section at the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
CAMERA-2 also showed no correlation between new brain lesions and migraine frequency. This finding may be due to the fact that structural changes to the brain arise not with each new migraine attack, but are the result of an ongoing process that occurs even during periods between attacks, Dr. Kruit said.
The study participants aged, making it difficult to tease out brain changes that are specifically attributable to migraine. That is because age, as well as hypertension and diabetes, are also known risk factors for white matter changes, Dr. Launer explained. Sixty percent of control females without migraine showed progression of white matter lesions as compared to 77 percent of those with migraine.
These findings add to the increasing amount of data that migraine, particularly in women, is progressively related small blood vessel changes, the researchers wrote in the paper.
Funding for CAMERA-2 was provided in part by a grant (1R01NS061382-01) from NINDS and the intramural research program at NIA. Additional funding also was provided by the Netherlands Heart Foundation and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.
For more information about migraine, visit www.ninds.nih.gov/migraine.
Reference: Palm-Meinders, IH, et al. "Structural brain changes in migraine." JAMA. 2012;308(18):1889-1897.
NINDS (http://www.ninds.nih.gov) is the nation's leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The NINDS mission is to reduce the burden of neurological disease – a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.
The NIA leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The Institute's broad scientific program seeks to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, aging, and health, go to http://www.nia.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov
Kathryn DeMott | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.nih.gov
More articles from Health and Medicine:
Primary care: strengthening the health system's first port of call
17.05.2013 | European Health Forum Gastein
Study Finds Plasmin—Delivered Through A Bubble—More Effective Than Tpa In Busting Clots
16.05.2013 | University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Researchers have shown that, by using global positioning systems (GPS) to measure ground deformation caused by a large underwater earthquake, they can provide accurate warning of the resulting tsunami in just a few minutes after the earthquake onset.
For the devastating Japan 2011 event, the team reveals that the analysis of the GPS data and issue of a detailed tsunami alert would have taken no more than three minutes. The results are published on 17 May in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, an open access journal of ...
A new study of glaciers worldwide using observations from two NASA satellites has helped resolve differences in estimates of how fast glaciers are disappearing and contributing to sea level rise.
The new research found glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, repositories of 1 percent of all land ice, lost an average of 571 trillion pounds (259 trillion kilograms) of mass every year during the six-year study period, making the oceans rise 0.03 inches (0.7 mm) per year. ...
About 99% of the world’s land ice is stored in the huge ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, while only 1% is contained in glaciers.
However, the meltwater of glaciers contributed almost as much to the rise in sea level in the period 2003 to 2009 as the two ice sheets: about one third. This is one of the results of an international study with the involvement of geographers from the University of Zurich.
Second sound is a quantum mechanical phenomenon, which has been observed only in superfluid helium.
Physicists from the University of Innsbruck, Austria, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Trento, Italy, have now proven the propagation of such a temperature wave in a quantum gas. The scientists have published their historic findings in the journal Nature.
Below a critical temperature, certain fluids become superfluid ...
Researchers use synthetic silicate to stimulate stem cells into bone cells
In new research published online May 13, 2013 in Advanced Materials, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) are the first to report that synthetic silicate nanoplatelets (also known as layered clay) can induce stem cells to become bone cells without the need of additional bone-inducing factors.
Synthetic silicates are made ...
17.05.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
17.05.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
17.05.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
17.05.2013 | Event News
15.05.2013 | Event News
08.05.2013 | Event News