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Migraine-associated brain changes not related to impaired cognition

Migraine-associated brain changes not related to impaired cognition

Women with migraines did not appear to experience a decline in cognitive ability over time compared to those who didn’t have them, according to a nine-year follow up study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The study also showed that women with migraine had a higher likelihood of having brain changes that appeared as bright spots on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a type of imaging commonly used to evaluate tissues of the body
The findings, which appear in the Nov. 14th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, update observations from an investigation conducted in 2000 showing that women with migraines were more likely than age-matched controls to have scattered areas of white matter changes on MRI scans. That initial population-based study, known as the Cerebral Abnormalities in Migraine, an Epidemiological Risk Analysis (CAMERA-1), screened and evaluated 295 men and women with migraine and compared them with 140 age- and sex-matched controls. In that study, people who had more frequent migraines also had a higher incidence of changes seen on their MRIs, suggesting that migraine attacks could have a cumulative effect. 
In the current investigation, known as CAMERA-2, researchers sought to tease out differences between men and women, and to find out whether the type of migraine was associated with an increase in the volume of new white matter changes relative to that seen in the initial study. Researchers reassessed 286 of the original participants. Among them, 114 had migraine with aura, 89 had migraine without aura, and 83 were controls. Compared with baseline, women with migraines were twice as likely as those without such attacks to have an increase in the volume of diffuse white matter changes. However, this increase was still very small, said one of the study’s investigators, Lenore J. Launer, Ph.D., chief of the Neuroepidemiology Section at the National Institute on Aging (NIA).CAMERA-2 also showed no correlation between new brain lesions and migraine frequency. This finding may be due to the fact that structural changes to the brain arise not with each new migraine attack, but are the result of an ongoing process that occurs even during periods between attacks, Dr. Kruit said.
The study participants aged, making it difficult to tease out brain changes that are specifically attributable to migraine. That is because age, as well as hypertension and diabetes, are also known risk factors for white matter changes, Dr. Launer explained. Sixty percent of control females without migraine showed progression of white matter lesions as compared to 77 percent of those with migraine. 

Bizarre.  I have recently done articles on the brain structural changes caused by FM, which do cause symptoms. I can see how migraines over time could cause structural changes... but puzzling ones it seems.
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