Migraine and white matter hyperintensities: The ARIC MRI study

Ali G. Hamedani, Kathryn M. Rose, B. Lee Peterlin, Thomas H. Mosley, Laura H. Coker, Clifford R. Jack, David S. Knopman, Alvaro Alonso, Rebecca F. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objective: Migraine is associated with white matter hyperintensities (WMH) cross-sectionally, but its effect on WMH progression is uncertain. Methods: Participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities cohort study (n 5 10,924) completed a standardized headache questionnaire between 1993 and 1995. A subset of participants (n 5 1,028) received 2 MRIs 8 to 12 years apart: once at the time of headache ascertainment, and again from 2004 to 2006. WMH were quantified using both a visually graded score (0-9) and semiautomated volumetric analysis. Linear and logistic regression models adjusted for age, sex, and other vascular risk factors were constructed. Results: Individuals who had migraine without aura were cross-sectionally associated with an 87% greater odds of having a WMH score ≥3 than individuals without headache (adjusted odds ratio = 1.87;95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04, 3.37). Participants with migraine had an average of 2. 65 cm3 more WMH than those without headache (95% CI: 0.06, 5.24). However, there was no significant difference in WMH progression over the study period between individuals with and without migraine (1.58 cm3 more progression for individuals with migraine compared to those without; 95% CI: 20.37, 3.53). Conclusion: Migraine is associated with WMH volume cross-sectionally but not with WMH progression over time. This suggests that the association between migraine and WMH is stable in older age and may be primarily attributable to changes occurring earlier in life, although further work is needed to confirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1308-1313
Number of pages6
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 8 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Migraine and white matter hyperintensities: The ARIC MRI study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this