Migraine Frequency, Cognitive Functioning Not Linked for Women, Study Suggests

July 13, 2011

Results drawn from the ongoing CAMP study found that cognitive functioning did not decline significantly with increased migraine frequency.

Women who suffer from frequent migraines do not necessarily pay a price in terms of cognitive function, a small-scale study finds. Jill Jesurum, PhD, the scientific director of the Swedish Heart and Vascular Institute at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, presented the results at last month’s annual meeting of the American Headache Society.

As reported by Internal Medicine News, Jesurum’s study looked at 28 women with an average age of 35 who had experienced frequent migraines for an average of 19 years and had an average of eight migraines per month. The participants took cognitive tests during a period when they were headache free and had not used alcohol or opiates for at least the previous 24 hours.

The results showed no significant correlation between the frequency of the participants’ migraines and their cognitive functioning. However, it did show that cognitive function declined as disability from migraines increased.

“These women with a very high migraine burden were functioning at a high cognitive level during their headache-free periods,” Jesurum told Internal Medical News. “All of them scored within one standard deviation in all of the tests.”

Jesurumn’s results were drawn from the ongoing Comorbidities Associated With Migraine and Patent Foramen Ovale (CAMP) study, which is comparing the rate of co-morbidities in migraine aura sufferers who have a large circulatory right-to-left shunt and those who do not.

Given the small sample size of her study, Jesurum emphasizes that it should be considered exploratory. In addition, she pointed out that over half the participants were college graduates and that her results may not apply to subjects at different education levels.

Around the Web:

Frequent Migraines Not Linked to Cognitive Impairment in Women [Internal Medicine News]

Comorbidities Associated With Migraine and Patent Foramen Ovale (CAMP) [ClinicalTrials.Gov]