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Migraine Sufferers Significantly More Likely Develop Parkinson's Disease

Update Date: Sep 17, 2014 10:50 PM EDT

Experiencing migraines in middle age increases the risk of Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders, according to a new study.

Lead researcher Dr. Ann I. Scher, of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, and her colleagues found that individuals who suffer migraines with aura are twice as likely to develop Parkinson's disease.

"Migraine is the most common brain disorder in both men and women," Scher added. "It has been linked in other studies to cerebrovascular and heart disease. This new possible association is one more reason research is needed to understand, prevent and treat the condition."

The latest study involved 5,620 people between the ages of 33 and 65 who were followed for 25 years.

The findings revealed that participants with migraine with aura were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease than individuals with no headaches. Study data revealed that a total of 2.4 percent of people with migraine with aura had the disease compared to 1.1 percent of those with no headache.

Furthermore, 19.7 percent of participants with migraine with aura had symptoms, compared to 12.6 percent of those with migraine and no aura and 7.5 percent of those with no headaches.

Furthermore, women who suffered migraine with aura were significantly more likely to have a family history of Parkinson's disease compared to those who did not suffer headaches.

"While the history of migraine is associated with an increased risk for Parkinson's, that risk is still quite low," Scher concluded.

The findings were published September 17 in the journal Neurology

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