Increased risk of MS among women with migraine

I
Background: The Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS-II), which enrolled over 116,000 female nurses, provides a unique opportunity to investigate whether migraine is associated with MS and to explore the temporal aspects of the interrelationship.

Objectives: To calculate risk of MS among NHS-II participants with and without migraine.
Results: The prevalence of migraine in women with MS at baseline (26%, p = 0.11) and those diagnosed with MS after enrolment (29%, p < 0.0001) was higher than in the non-MS cases (21%). 
The risk of developing MS in woman with migraine was 1.39 times higher than in non-migraine sufferers.
The absolute risk of developing MS in women migraineurs over a 15-year follow-up was 1 in 217 (0.47%) compared to  1 in 313 (0.32%) among non-migraineurs.

The odds of being diagnosed with migraine was 1.5x higher in women with pre-existing MS compared with those without MS.

Conclusions: Using a large, cohort of women-nurses, history of migraine was associated with an increased risk of MS.

Epub ahead of printKister et al. Increased risk of multiple sclerosis among women with migraine in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Mult Scler. 2011 Aug 3.

“An interesting study. I wonder how the two conditions are related to each other? This will need some thought. Any ideas?”


Additional reading: The Nurses’ Health Study, Migraine

CoI: Nil

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.

3 comments

  • In this study the migraines were there before the MS, otherwise I would say that people with MS are just subject to lots of factors that can trigger migraine. MS disturbs the body in many ways so more migraines can be expected

    I don't have MS but lots of things bring on migraines (colds, toothaches, lack of sleep, chocolate, bananas, extreme weather, flashing lights, indigestion, …)

  • Re "…vascular link …"

    The migraine-vascular hypothesis has been dead and buried for several years. The vascular changes that occur are secondary to the neuronal mechanisms. I suspect CCSVI, if it is real finding (several more recent independent studies can't find the abnormalities), will turn out to be a secondary phenomenon as well.

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