9/3/07 #6 - Stroke-like symptoms followed by Migraines. Now dementia. Connection?

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  • Full Question:
    My husband has been having stroke-like symptoms followed by a migraine for over thirty years. He first has vision problems, then numbness and tingling on one side of his body. Many times his speech and thinking are effected. He now has been diagnosed with mild dementia. His MRI shows white matter lesions on his brain. He is considered disabled and unable to do his computer work any more.

     

    Three of our seven children are showing these early symptoms of this same type of migraine. Please advise me on what to do. My husband also had a stoke at age 45. The stroke did not leave any permanent physical damage. The Neurologist at the time, suggested that the stroke may be related to his migraine problem. But none of the docs we have seen have ever said that the migraines are the cause of the dementia, but I believe that they are as I have watched this slow progression for a long time. Every time he has a migraine he seems to lose some mental function until after so many years he has permanent cognitive impairment. I am hoping to get some answers so that I can at least help my children. Thank you. Linda.

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    Answer:

     

    Dear Linda;

     

    I appreciate your deep level of concern for your family's symptoms. Sometimes, it is hard to put every symptom in one basket. Typically, migraines are not considered a cause of dementia but rather can be associated with cognitive impairments, often outlasting the headache itself. Strokes can certainly have long-term cognitive consequences. Many people with migraines have some MRI changes, often non-specific and these have an appearance that is different from a "typical" stroke. These days, there are reasonable treatments for cognitive impairment/dementia; these medications are different from those used to suppress migraine symptoms. Perhaps seeking out a local headache specialist AND someone specializing in cognitive disorders might be an effective strategy.

     

    Good luck,
    John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

     

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    Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert.

     

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Published On: September 03, 2007