Study Finds Migraines Lead to Permenant Brain Structure Impairments
Written by Alyssa Clark
Just when you think that migraines can’t get any worse— they do.
A recent study published in the journal of Neurology claims that migraines can be leading, permanent triggers to causing negative affects to long-term brain structure and an increase of brain lesions. The study’s primary authors looked at MRI brains scans of patients with common migraines or migraines with aura, in order to best evaluate the patients in the most fair and equal way.
According to the World Health Organization, “In the U.S. more than 37 million people suffer from migraines. Some migraine studies estimate that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. population have migraines, and 2-3 million migraine suffers are chronic.” The basic demographic for migraine or migraine aura suffers is: women (18 percent of women compared to 6 percent of men), people between the ages of 35 and 55, in lowest income groups and Caucasian people.
The scans of people with migraines or migraine aura, migraine aura is when people experience migraine symptoms before the full migraine occurs, were compared to scans of those not experiencing any migraines or migraine related symptoms to track brain changes and different lesions.
Concerned physicians and healthcare providers have long suspected a possible connection between these two neurologically-related problems, and are committed to understanding what they can do better in order to help patients suffering from these difficult ailments.
The research was done at the University of Denmark, where scientists analyzed six population-based studies and 13 clinical-based studies to diagnose if there was a significant link between migraines and brain lesions, brain volume changes or silent abnormalities. The study reported that, “those who had migraines with aura showed a 68% increased risk of white matter brain lesions, compared with those who did not have migraines”.
Symptoms of migraines or migraine aura should not be ignored, and anyone experiencing these symptoms should be encouraged to and receive medical attention in order to prevent any long-term brain lesions from occurring. Symptoms can vary, but usually include: throbbing pulsating pain, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, nausea, pain on one side, vision changes or blurred vision, aura and vomiting.
The World Health Organization also conducted a study measuring the amount of work being missed by people plagued with these ailments. The study “estimates the loss of productivity in the U.S. to be between $5.6 billion to $17.2 billion per year because of missed work. The average migraine sufferer misses two days of work per year. Some who suffer from persistent migraines work during a migraine attack, which they say lowers productivity. It is estimated that migraines are the reason for 36 million days of bed rest, plus 21.5 million days of restricted activity”.
About the Author
Alyssa Clark is the Editor of Healthcare Global
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”