No Mental Deterioration In Elder Migraineurs Due To Repeated Episodes (1)
Neurological research for some time has shown that migraineurs are at an increased risk of developing vascular lesions in the brain and exhibit frequent changes in their cerebral white matter.
A recent study conducted by the University Hospital Graz, Austria took a look at the possibility that such striking change that occur in the migraineurs’ cerebral white matter was indeed going to lead to an earlier age-expected mental deterioration, at least for a significant percentage of the migraining population thus causing them compromising lifestyles and depending on care.
White matter makes up for a majority of brain mass in humans. It is a network of axons sheathed in white fat that renders conductivity of neural and electrical pulses. White matter is believed to be crucial for how the brain functions, for successful learning and for social behaviour.
The study took into its fold some 639 elderly with the average age of 74 years who had had some history of neurological conditions like migraines, cognitive or motor conditions and whose diagnosis was supported by an initial MRI scan and report. The assessment was carried out case by case on the basis of a comprehensive clinical, neuropsychological and functional protocol throughout the three year period. MRI scans were conducted at the start and at the end of the study. Both volume and extent of changes in the cerebral white matter was recorded.
The results showed that 16% of all subjects suffered from migraines out of which over 66% of migraineurs also experienced with aura; women were three times more likely than men in the same age group to suffer migraines though the severity and volume changes in brain were the same in both men and women.
According to leading author of the study, Prof Fazekas, “The welcome result of the study was this: We can say for elderly patients at least that their migraines do not increase the risk of vascular injuries in cerebral white matter. They are also not at risk of these pain attacks exacerbating vascular lesions in the brain.” (2)
However, in the follow-up examination after three years there was found to be no significant correlation between migraines and the progression of changes in white matter. No gender-specific differences were detected, either. In short, the assumed correlation between headaches and neurological changes was not confirmed. The correlation between migraines and changes in white matter is a specific phenomenon amongst affected younger people and presumably attributable to some other pathogenic mechanism.
- Image Credit: Photopin.com; Sticky note via Creative Commons; Web June 2013;
- Migraines Do Not Exacerbate Mental Deterioration; Medical News Today, MNT; Web June 2013;
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