April 24, 2007
by Leanne Gregg, NBC News
A new study published in the Journal of Neurology finds that people who have migraines may have less memory loss over time than people who do not suffer from the excruciating headaches.
More than 30 million Americans suffer from migraines-- the horrendous headaches that can make your face, cheekbones and even your teeth hurt.
"It can be disabling, very painful, most people when they have a migraine attack basically can do nothing until it is over," says Dr. Amanda Kalaydjian, the author of the study.
The study included 1,500 people who were given tests 12 years apart. Migraine sufferers performed worse at the start of the study, but over time their memory declined close to 20% less than people without migraines.
Researchers said medications along with changes the patients made in their diet and behavior may have helped protect their memory. But they also believe brain activity of people with migraine headaches may play a role.
While researchers are not ready to say migraine sufferers have better memory, the study is one more step in understanding the full impact of the potentially debilitating condition.
The study found while people with migraine headaches performed worse on cognitive tests at the beginning of the study, their performance dropped 17% less over time than people without.