Some 37 million Americans suffer from migraines, those incredibly painful and often debilitating headaches. While they’ve been known to knock a person out, migraines weren’t thought to permanently affect the brain – until now. A new study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology suggests migraines may indeed leave a mark.
“Our review and meta-analysis study suggests that the disorder may permanently alter brain structure in multiple ways,” said study author Dr. Messoud Ashina, a neurologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
A migraine is a common type of headache where throbbing pain is typically felt on just one side of the head. Sufferers experience sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting. Women are three times more likely to be affected by migraines than men.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, migraines cost the United States more than $20 billion a year in both direct medical expenses like doctor visits and medication and indirectly when employees miss work resulting in lost productivity.
About 20% of migraine sufferers experience an aura – a warning symptom 20 minutes to an hour before a migraine begins. It’s usually in the form of visual disturbances like wavy lines, dots or flashing lights, tingling in the face or arms, even difficulty speaking.
Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education