Malpractice News

July 4, 2013

Link between migraines and strokes identified

Migraines that are accompanied by auras have been linked, in women, with an increased risk of stroke. An aura, according to the National Institutes of Health, is “visual effects such as flashes of light or blind spots, or by tingling in the hand or face.” Researchers studied 28,000 women nationwide and found that they had a “greater risk for all types of strokes.” These findings were presented at the International Headache Congress in Boston.

2 stroke types affected by migraine auras

Strokes come in two varieties: ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is caused by blockage of blood flow to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke comes when there is cranial bleeding. The latter stroke is far rarer. During the course of 15 years, researchers followed 1,435 women who were afflicted with the migraine aura, and 528 of them had strokes. There were 430 ischemic strokes, 96 hemorrhagic, and 2 that went unidentified.

Aura occurrence compared to other risk factors

Dr. Tobias Kurth, the study’s lead author and practicing physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said, “In this study we sought to determine the importance of migraine with aura in stroke occurrence relative to other stroke risk factors.“ The results, he said, showed that, “For total, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, migraine with aura was a strong relative contributor.”

Effects of migraines widespread

Migraines afflict over 36 million Americans and costs the U.S. $20 billion “in direct medical expenses, such as doctor visits and medications, and indirect expenses, such as missed work and lost productivity.”


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