Researchers and health professionals have known for some time that migraine and stroke are linked. New research indicates that both disorders share a genetic link.

Study authors, led by Rainer Malik, PhD, of the University Hospital of Bordeaux, France, reviewed data from more than 23,000 migraineurs and 94,000 controls, and 12,000 people who had had an ischemic stroke and 62,000 controls.

Writing in the journal Neurology, the researchers say they found substantial genetic overlap between migraine and ischemic stroke. Overall, migraine without aura shared more genetic material with ischemic stroke than migraine with aura.

Migraineurs, however should not be alarmed by these findings, but are encouraged to talk to their health care providers about any concerns they may have. Mitchell Elkin, MD, Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology at Columbia University School of Medicine in New York, provided his perspective:

“The discovery of genetic links between migraine and stroke may someday provide better ways to prevent stroke in patients with migraine. For now, ensuring low blood pressure, avoiding smoking, and exercising regularly are great ways to lower stroke risk,” he said.

National Headache Foundation
June 26, 2015

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