Public Release: 

Migraine more common in women with MS

American Academy of Neurology

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Migraine is seen more frequently in women with multiple sclerosis (MS) than those without, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10 to April 17, 2010.

"While having a history of migraine diagnosis was linked to MS, women with migraine need to know that over 99 percent of them will never develop MS, thus having migraine should definitely not be a reason to worry about getting MS," said study author Ilya Kister, MD, with New York University School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "More research is needed since it's still not known whether migraine is a risk factor for developing MS or if it is a condition that occurs at the same time as MS."

The study involved 116,678 women who were part of the Nurses' Health Study II. Of these women, 18,000 had been diagnosed with migraine at the start of the study. The women were followed every two years for 16 years. During the study, 375 women were diagnosed with MS. Of those, 82 had reported at the beginning of the study that they had been diagnosed by a doctor with migraine.

The study found that women with a migraine diagnosis at the beginning of the study were 47 percent more likely to develop MS than women without a diagnosis. The results were the same regardless of age, where they lived, Scandinavian ancestry, vitamin D levels, smoking status and body mass index.

The research represents the first large scale study of its kind to explore the relationship between migraine and MS.

More data on this relationship will be presented by Kister at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Toronto.

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The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 22,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Parkinson's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), dementia, epilepsy and migraine. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology and the AAN Annual Meeting, visit http://www.aan.com.

Editor's Notes: Study authors are available for advance interviews. Please contact Rachel Seroka, rseroka@aan.com.

Non-late-breaking abstracts to be presented at the AAN Annual Meeting will be posted online in advance of the AAN Annual Meeting at 4 pm, ET, Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at http://www.aan.com/go/science/abstracts. Late-breaking abstracts will not be posted online in advance of the Annual Meeting and will remain embargoed until the date and time of presentation of the late-breaking abstract at the AAN Annual Meeting in Toronto, April 10-17, 2010. Late-breaking abstracts will be featured in press release and in press conference at the 2010 AAN Annual Meeting in Toronto. To register to attend the AAN Annual Meeting Press Room in Toronto, visit http://www.aan.com/go/press/registration.

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