Migraines can cause permanent brain damage, new research had claimed.
Experts have discovered that migraines, which affect 10 to 15 per cent of the population, raise the risk of brain lesions, white matter abnormalities and altered brain volume compared to people without the disorder.
The association was even stronger in those with migraine with aura — or when there is a warning sign before the migraine begins.
Study author Dr Messoud Ashina, of the University of Copenhagen, said: ‘Traditionally, migraine has been considered a benign disorder without long-term consequences for the brain.
‘Our review and meta-analysis study suggests that the disorder may permanently alter brain structure in multiple ways.’
Ashina reviewed 19 studies to see whether people who experienced migraine had an increased risk of brain lesions, silent abnormalities or brain volume changes on MRI brain scans compared to those without the condition.
The results showed that migraine with aura increased the risk of white matter brain lesions by 68 per cent and migraine with no aura increased the risk by 34 per cent, compared to those without migraine.
The risk for brain abnormalities increased by 44 per cent for those with migraine with aura compared to those without aura.
Brain volume changes were also more common in people with migraine and migraine with aura than those with no migraines.
Ashina hopes the study will provide some insight into what lasting effects regular migraines have on the brain.
Ashina said: ‘Migraine affects about 10 to 15 percent of the general population and can cause a substantial personal, occupational and social burden.
‘We hope that through more study, we can clarify the association of brain structure changes to attack frequency and length of the disease.”