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Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
The study -- published online today in the journal Stroke -- comes from experts including Leah MacClellan, MSPH, and Steven Kittner, MD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
MacClellan, Kittner, and colleagues studied 1,000 African-American and white women age 15-49 living in and around the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area.
The women were in their mid- to late-30s, on average (age range: 15-49). Stroke, which is America's third leading cause of death and a major cause of disability, usually strikes decades later.
The researchers asked the women about their history of headaches, including migraines.
Compared to the women who hadn't had a stroke, the stroke survivors were 50% more likely to report having a history of migraines with visual aura in the year or years before their stroke.
Migraines without visual aura weren't linked to increased stroke risk.
Reducing Stroke Risk
"Young women with probable migraine with visual symptoms can reduce their risk of stroke by stopping smoking and finding alternatives to the use of estrogen-containing contraceptives," Kittner states in an American Heart Association news release.
He uses the term "probable migraine" because the women's migraines weren't necessarily diagnosed by a doctor.
SOURCES: MacClellan, L. Stroke, Aug. 9, 2007; online edition. News release, American Heart Association.
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