Link between migraine and stroke

Young women who suffer from migraines with visual disturbances and who smoke and take the contraceptive pill are at a higher risk of stroke, research suggests.

Migraine doubles the chances of a stroke if accompanied by aura (temporary visual or sensory disturbances) according to the research, published online in the British Medical Journal.

Other factors that heighten the chances of a stroke include being younger than 45, a smoker and using contraceptive pills containing the hormone oestrogen.

Researchers led by a team from Harvard Medical School said there was no evidence of an increased risk of stroke among people having migraine without aura.

About one in five people suffer from migraines, with up to a third having an aura. The authors pooled the results of nine previous studies on the link between migraine and stroke to come up with the findings.

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