Researchers reviewed six population-based studies and 13 clinic-based studies to see if migraine sufferers had an increased risk of brain lesions, white matter abnormalities (WMAs), infarct-like lesions (ILLs), or brain volume changes in both the gray and white matter regions of the brain. Infarct-like lesions – also called “silent” strokes, are changes neurologists usually see on MRI scans that look like minor strokes.
According to the study, the risk of white matter brain lesions increased 68% for those suffering migraines with aura, compared to non-migraine sufferers. Those who suffered from migraines without aura saw that increased risk cut in half (34%), but they too could get lesions in the part of the brain that is comprised of nerve fibers.
Researchers also found white matter abnormalities are not limited to migraines; they also occur in non-migraine headaches. And people with migraines and migraines with aura were also more likely to have brain volume changes than those who don’t suffer from migraines. But what these white matter abnormalities lead to is still unclear. That’s why Ashina says more long-term studies are needed.
“Migraine affects about 10 to 15% of the general population and can cause a substantial personal, occupational and social burden,” said Ashina. “We hope that through more study, we can clarify the association of brain structure changes to attack frequency and length of the disease. We also want to find out how these lesions may influence brain function.”
While migraines might be associated with structural changes in the brain, there’s no cause for concern, Ashima determined. “Studies of white matter changes showed no relationship to migraine frequency or cognitive status of patients.” Dr. MaryAnn Mays, a staff neurologist at the Center for Headache & Pain at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the research, agreed.
“What this study does demonstrate is yes, brain changes are more common in patients with migraines and probably are more common in patients with migraine aura,” Mays told CNN. “The good news is that … long-term cognitive changes were not seen, even though these brain changes were apparent on imaging.” So do these brain changes pose problem?
“I don’t think overall in the long-term migraine sufferers need to be concerned,” Mays said. “However, clinicians should screen for cardiovascular risk factors that may be apparent and can be modified – such as hypertension and high cholesterol – that could be contributing to white matter lesions that are unrelated to the migraine.” Mays is confident that headache experts are going to continue to monitor these changes to determine if it will have any impact on the health of migraine sufferers.
(CNN) — One day last January, Robert Ethan Saylor, a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome, went to see the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” When it was over, Saylor briefly left the theater, then decided to return and see it again. The manager called security because Saylor didn’t pay, and three off-duty deputies, moonlighting at the mall, came in to confront him.
According to Frederick County, Maryland, police statements, he swore at them and refused to leave. The deputies tried to remove him, despite Saylor’s caretaker’s warnings and pleas for them to wait and let her take care of it. What happened next is a little unclear, but witnesses say the deputies put Saylor on the floor, held him down and handcuffed him. Saylor, called Ethan by his family, suffered a fracture in his throat cartilage. He died of asphyxiation.
The death was ruled a homicide, but a grand jury failed to indict the deputies and they returned to work without charges.
My son has Down syndrome, so I have been following this case closely. But for months, it seemed as if only people in the disability community cared about it.
Petitions for independent investigations sputtered out with just a few hundred votes. Local reporting on the case never made a splash in national media. Meanwhile, the Frederick County sheriff investigated his men’s conduct, ruled they had followed procedure correctly, and tried to move on.
Police violence against people with disabilities is not uncommon, but the cases don’t seem to get a lot of publicity. Most people see the disabled as, at best, passive victims, objects to care for, perhaps to love, but not people with whom we automatically identify.
In July, his death began to get more attention. Heather Mizeur, a member of the Maryland House of Representatives and candidate for governor, seized on Saylor’s story and called for new training for law enforcement.
What’s next? An outside investigation either by the Justice Department or as part of a civil lawsuit might piece together the chain of events from the moment deputies confronted Saylor to his death on the cinema floor. We need an unbiased assessment of responsibility, not just to help the Saylor family understand — although that’s important — but to help all of us understand what went wrong. When law enforcement officers encounter people with disabilities, things can go wrong very easily.
Dennis Debbaudt trains police on how to respond to people with intellectual disabilities, and argues that such cases require special tactics.
“Freedom is not given. It must be won through struggle and discipline, persistence and faith.” —President Obama yesterday at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington: http://at.wh.gov/onVCC
The National Football League agreed today to pay $765 million to retired football players who sued the league over head injuries that they blamed on their time playing pro football.
The NFL settled the lawsuit brought by more than 4,500 retired players but did not admit responsibility for players’ injuries. Read the full story here.