Older people with migraines more likely to have “silent strokes”
A new study has found that older people who suffer migraines may be more at risk of having silent brain injury and “silent strokes” than people who don't have migraines.
Silent strokes occur when a blood clot interrupts blood flow to the brain. Also known as silent brain infarctions, silent strokes are dangerous because they do not exhibit any symptoms in the person experiencing the brain injury and they are also a risk factor for future strokes.
In the new study, scientists from the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) recruited 546 older adults living in New York City with an average age of 71. A total of 104 participants had a history of migraine, while the other 442 did not. The researchers conducted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and found that the people who had migraine history had twice as many silent strokes as did those with no migraine history. The results remained consistent after the researchers adjusted for other stroke-related factors, including blood pressure levels.
The findings, published in the journal Stroke, suggest that there may be a link between treatments for migraines and stroke risk. Currently, researchers are uncertain whether treating migraines could reduce risk of stroke, but they plan to conduct further research to gain a better understanding of the relationship between migraine and stroke.