Study examines migraine’s link to higher stroke risk

Washington: While earlier studies found that migraine with aura is associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, a recent post-hoc analysis published in Headache reveals unexpected results. The new study suggests that
onset of such migraines before the age of 50 is not associated with such risks.

The analysis included 447 migraineurs with aura (MA) and 1,128 migraineurs without aura (MO) among 11,592 participants (elderly men and women with a history of migraine). Over 20 years, there was a twofold increased risk of ischemic stroke when the age of MA onset was 50 years or older when compared with no headache.

However, MA onset before 50 years old was not associated with stroke. Also, MO was not associated with increased stroke risk regardless of the age of onset.

In the elderly population in the study, the absolute risk for stroke in MA was 8.27 per cent and in MO was 4.25 per cent.

Speaking about the study, lead author Dr. X. Michelle Androulakis, said, “I think clinically this is very meaningful, as many individuals with a long history of migraine are concerned about their stroke risk, especially when they get older and when they have other cardiovascular disease risks.”

Androulakis further added, “Cumulative effects of migraine alone–with onset of migraine before age of 50–did not increase stroke risk in late life in this study cohort. On the contrary, the recent onset of migraine at or after age 50 is associated with increased stroke risk in late life.”