Published in factoidz and examiner
On September 17 – 20, 2008 Montreal hosted the World Conference on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis. This year the American Academy of Neurology’s will report their new findings at the annual meeting in Toronto. What will be discussed is the possible link between migraine headaches and MS.
What researchers extrapolated from the pivotal Nurses’ Health Study II, part of the most crucial long-term epidemiological studies (includes Nurse’s Health Study I) ever done to date on older women’s general health is that some of the women who reported having migraine headaches later developed multiple sclerosis.
The neurologist in charge of the study, Dr. Ilya Kister, New York University School of Medicine, states most women with migraine headaches will never contract MS. Dr. Kister cautions not to worry about contracting Multiple Sclerosis based on migraine headaches alone, 99 percent of migraine sufferers will not contract the disease. All the study is pointing out is that there may be a link between migraines and people who are going to contract the disease.
This is exciting news for the medical community, but is not news to concern the average Canadian migraine sufferer at this time. Between 55,000 to 75,000 Canadians currently suffer from migraine headaches; there is no conclusive research to expect that most or even some of these migraine sufferers will contract MS.
During the course of the 16-year study, the findings, which were adjusted to preclude other possible risk factors, showed that women had a 47 greater chance of contracting MS if they had a history of migraines.
At this point in the research it cannot be determined if migraines are a risk factor or if they are an early symptom of multiple sclerosis. It is not even known at this point if the migraine headaches are just a condition that occurs at the same time as multiple sclerosis but not necessarily connected to the disease. However the research is sure to stimulate more research.
What we do know is that women are twice as likely to develop MS than men and three times more likely to have migraine headaches.
For more information about Multiple Sclerosis in the Montreal area:
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
666 Sherbrooke W,
MS Clinic at the Montreal Neurological Institute