A brand new study in the famous “British Medical Journal” has found some good news regarding the very bad migraine headache. Thankfully, it seems that migraines are not linked to cognitive decline and dementia, as was previously believed.
Migraines affect an undetermined number of people, but it is certainly substantial. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which authored the study, suggests that about 20% of American women suffer migraines. Despite this high rate of occurrence, there is a lot we still do not know about the debilitating headache.
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Though migraines are linked to some issues, such as a higher risk for stroke, there is positive health news that’s come out in regard to the brain’s deterioration. Researchers have found that migraines are not linked to cognitive decline, the most famous culprit of which is Alzheimer’s disease.
In the past, the link has been murky. Smaller studies couldn’t find a link, but they were not high-quality enough to trust. Now along comes a good, solid study in a reputable journal. This should help put any migraine sufferer’s worries to bed: while a migraine hurts like heck and is intensely aggravating, it won’t put you on the road to dementia. It won’t affect your memory or cognitive processing skills.
The news comes from the famous “Women’s Health Study” that provides a large sampling of women who yield interesting medical insight. It counts about 40,000 women over 45. For this one on migraines, the researchers extracted a sample of more than 6,300 women, tested for migraine status at the beginning, and then cognitive abilities later on.
The women either had no history of migraine or migraine with aura, or had a past history of the headache. Aura, which is no strange term to a lot of people, basically means you have strange symptoms in your visual field, which are being sent down from your brain.
The study found that women with migraines, whether they had aura or not, did not have significantly different rates of cognitive decline from women who had no history of migraine. This should serve, the research team notes, to reassure migraine sufferers that there doesn’t appear to be consequences on cognitive function as the years roll by.
There is still a lot that is unknown about migraines. However, this study offers promising evidence for patients and their treating physicians. More research needs to be done to understand the consequences of migraine on the brain and to establish strategies to influence the course of the disease in order to optimize treatment strategies.