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Sep 19, 2014 06:36 AM EDT

Middle-Aged People with Migraine More Likely to Develop Parkinson’s disease, Study


Middle-aged people suffering from migraine are more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease or other movement disorders later in life, according to a new study by the Uniformed Services University.

The researchers said that those have migraine combined with aura face double-risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

"Migraine is the most common brain disorder in both men and women," said study author Ann I. Scher, a member of the American Academy of Neurology, in a press release. "It has been linked in other studies to cerebrovascular and heart disease. This new possible association is one more reason research is needed to understand, prevent and treat the condition."

For the study, the researchers followed 5,620 people, aged between 33 and 65 yers, for 25 years. At the beginning of the study, 3,924 of the participants had no headaches, 1,028 had headaches with no migraine symptoms, 238 had migraine with no aura and 430 had migraine with aura.

The researchers found that the ones who had migraine with aura were 2.4 percent more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's than 1.1 of those with no headaches. People with migraine and aura were 3.6 percent more likely to report at least four of six symptoms of Parkinson's, while it was 2.3 percent for those with migraine and no aura. Overall, 19.7 percent of people with migraine and aura had symptoms as compared to 12.6 percent of those with migraine with no aura and 7.5 percent of those with no headaches.

Women with migraine combined with aura were more likely to be associated with a family history of Parkinson's disease than those with no headaches.

"A dysfunction in the brain messenger dopamine is common to both Parkinson's and RLS, and has been hypothesized as a possible cause of migraine for many years. Symptoms of migraine such as excessive yawning, nausea and vomiting are thought to be related to dopamine receptor stimulation," said Scher. "While the history of migraine is associated with an increased risk for Parkinson's, that risk is still quite low."

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