Migraine does not cause brain damage

Migraine does not cause cognitive impairment, according to a new Danish twin study.  This important finding reassures millions of migraine sufferers and confirms our clinical observation.   Another recent study in mice suggested that inducing brain changes similar to what occurs during a migraine attack in humans can cause brain damage.  This report was widely circulated in the media and has caused unnecessary anxiety in many migraine sufferers.  Clearly, whatever those mice experienced was not a migraine attack and, more importantly, brains of mice are very different from human brains. 

The Danish study looked at 139 pairs of twins where one of the twins had migraines and the other one did not.  Comparing their cognitive abilities revealed no difference for those who had migraine with or without aura, even after taking into account age, age of onset, duration of migraine history and number of attacks.  Presence of aura is thought to indicate a more serious condition with a slight increase in the risk of stroke.  However, on one cognitive test, men with migraine with aura did better than their twin without migraines.

Submit comment