A report on 39,754 women participating in the Women's Health Study showed that women who have migraine with aura are more at risk for stroke, compared with women who have migraine without aura or nonmigraine headaches. The greatest risk was seen for ischemic stroke; no relationship was seen between any type of headache and hemorrhagic stroke. The report was presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Neurology (April 26, 2004).
The researchers asked the participants at the start of the study about a history of migraine, symptoms of aura, or other headache symptoms. After 9 years of follow-up, the researchers reported a total of 385 strokes, of which 309 were ischemic, 72 hemorrhagic, and 4 undefined. Of the 385 strokes, 68 occurred in women with migraine, with 25 happening in women with aura and 43 in women without aura. Of the 309 ischemic strokes, 57 occurred in women with migraine?22 in women with migraine with aura and 35 in those without aura. Also, women with migraine with aura had an increased risk of both total and ischemic stroke. Women with migraine without aura had no increased risk of stroke.