Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Women With Migraines And Visual Symptoms May Have Higher Stroke Risk

Date:
August 14, 2007
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Women who have migraine headaches with visual symptoms (or aura) may be at increased risk for stroke compared to women who do not have migraines, researchers reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Women who have migraine headaches with visual symptoms (or aura) may be at increased risk for stroke compared to women who do not have migraines, researchers reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The risk association between stroke and migraines also increases when other factors are added, such as recent onset of these headaches, smoking and oral contraceptive use.

“Women with recent onset of probable migraine with visual symptoms (within the prior year) were almost seven times more likely to have a stroke compared to women with no history of migraine,” said Steven Kittner, M.D., M.P.H., senior author of the study and staff physician at Baltimore Veterans Affairs (VA) MedicalCenter. “Eight percent of stroke cases had onset of probable migraine with visual symptoms in the prior year compared to one percent of controls.

“Second, and probably the most important finding, women who had probable migraine with visual symptoms who also smoked and used oral contraceptives had seven times the risk of stroke than women who had probable migraine with visual symptoms alone.”

Migraine and stroke share some common risk factors, including high blood pressure and patent foramen ovale (PFO); both have a hereditary basis. While a baby grows in the womb, he or she has a normal opening between the heart’s left and right atria (upper chambers). If this opening doesn’t close naturally soon after the birth, the hole is called PFO.

Furthermore, migraine has long been regarded as a risk factor for ischemic stroke (stroke caused by a blot clot blocking blood flow to the brain). Few prior studies have addressed the different potential reasons for an association between migraine and stroke.

Researchers analyzed stroke incidence among 386 women 15-to 49-years-old with a first ischemic stroke and 614 women of similar ages and ethnicities who had not had stroke. Based on their responses to a questionnaire, the women were classified into three categories: having no migraine; probable migraine without visual aura; or probable migraine with visual aura.

Kittner and colleagues also reported that, compared to women with no history of migraine, women with probable migraine with visual symptoms had a 1.5 greater risk of ischemic stroke.

“Young women with probable migraine with visual symptoms can reduce their risk of stroke by stopping smoking and finding alternatives to the use of estrogen-containing contraceptives,” said Kittner, who is also professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the MarylandStroke Center in Baltimore, Md.

As alarming as the findings sound, the chance that a woman in the 15-to-44-age group will have an ischemic stroke is very low — one-to-twofor every 10,000 people each year, Kittner said.

However, neurologists and other doctors should encourage their patients who have migraine with associated visual symptoms to minimize other stroke risk factors, he said.

“More work is also needed regarding whether patent foramen ovale mediates the association between probable migraine with visual symptoms and ischemic stroke,” Kittner said. “We did not find evidence that this was the case, but had limited data to address this question.

“Other investigators should confirm our findings of an increased risk of stroke associated with recent onset of probable migraine with visual symptoms.”

Co-authors are Leah R. MacClellan, M.S.P.H.; Wayne Giles, M.D.; John Cole, M.D.; Marcella Wozniak, M.D.; Barney Stern, M.D. and Braxton D. Mitchell, Ph.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Women With Migraines And Visual Symptoms May Have Higher Stroke Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070809172219.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2007, August 14). Women With Migraines And Visual Symptoms May Have Higher Stroke Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070809172219.htm
American Heart Association. "Women With Migraines And Visual Symptoms May Have Higher Stroke Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070809172219.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins