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Older Smokers With Migraines May Face Added Stroke Risk

Researchers find no increased risk among nonsmokers

MONDAY, Aug. 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Older smokers who experience migraines appear to be at increased risk of stroke, a new study suggests. The findings were published online July 22 in Neurology.

The study included 1,292 people, average age 68, who experienced migraine headaches with and without aura. The study participants were followed for an average of 11 years to estimate the association between migraine and combined vascular events including stroke and stroke only.

The researchers did not find an association between migraine and the risk of either combined cardiovascular events or stroke in nonsmokers. But among smokers, migraine was associated with a three-fold increased risk of stroke (hazard ratio, 3.17; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.13 to 8.85). For combined vascular events, the hazard ratio for migraine versus no migraine among current smokers was 1.83 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.89 to 3.75).

“Statistically, we could not rule out the possibility that the relationship between migraine and stroke in smokers was due to chance; however, we believe the association is consistent with other studies,” study author Teshamae Monteith, M.D., said in a journal news release. Monteith is director of the headache program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “Our findings may provide more evidence as to why quitting smoking is important for people who experience migraine,” she added.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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