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June 24, 2009

Migraine and Cerebral Infarct-like Lesions on MRI: An Observation, Not a Disease

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: INSERM Unit 708–Neuroepidemiology, and the Faculty of Medicine, University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France (Drs Kurth and Tzourio); and the Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Kurth).

JAMA. 2009;301(24):2594-2595. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.933

Migraine is a common, chronic-intermittent neurovascular headache disorder characterized by moderate to severe headache attacks and various combinations of gastrointestinal and autonomic nervous system disturbances.1,2 The prevalence peaks in midlife and approximately 12% of the population is affected, with women being affected 3 to 4 times more often than men.3 In approximately one-third of patients with migraine, transient neurological symptoms occur that mostly involve the visual field but can also involve the sensory or motor system (migraine aura). While the specifics of migraine pathophysiology are still being unveiled, dysfunction of brain cells and arteries has been identified as a major component.1,4