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AIM: Migraine, in particular with aura, has been associated with an increased risk for ischemic stroke and coronary heart disease. The underlying mechanism is unknown. In a cross-sectional case control study we investigated whether an enhanced risk of atherosclerosis in migraineurs explains this increased cardiovascular risk. METHODS: Subjects were participants from the population-based Erasmus Rucphen Family study. Atherosclerosis was assessed in 360 migraineurs (209 without aura and 151 with aura) and 617 subjects without migraine or severe headache. Atherosclerosis was quantified by intima media thickness, pulse wave velocity and ankle-brachial index. RESULTS: Migraineurs, especially with aura, were found more likely to smoke, have diabetes or a modestly decreased HDL-cholesterol. No differences were found for the atherosclerosis parameters. CONCLUSION: In this large population-based study, migraineurs have no increased risk of atherosclerosis. Therefore, enhanced atherosclerosis is an unlikely explanation for the increased cardiovascular risk seen in migraineurs.

Original publication

DOI

10.1177/0333102412466966

Type

Journal article

Journal

Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache

Publication Date

03/2013

Volume

33

Pages

228 - 235

Addresses

Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands.

Keywords

Humans, Prevalence, Case-Control Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Migraine Disorders, Atherosclerosis, Ankle Brachial Index, Carotid Intima-Media Thickness, Pulse Wave Analysis