Migraine and memory loss

by James on 21 September 2007

How does migraine – or the underlying cause of migraine – impact memory?  Being a neurological condition, there are often related symptoms – such as clumsiness, aphasia, restlessness, confusion, and difficulty speaking.  But how migraine may affect memory, either during an attack or over the long term, is little known.

Interestingly, transient global amnesia (TGA) has been linked to migraine.  TGA is a mysterious illness where, suddenly but only for a time, a patient has difficulty remembering recent events and has increased trouble retaining new information.  It usually lasts a few hours.

According to Dr. Roy Sucholeiki (Medical Director of the Comprehensive Seizure and Epilepsy Program at The Neurosciences Institute at Central DuPage Hospital), migraine may be a related factor.  A 1989 study found that 25% of those who had TGA also had a history of migraine.  That’s a high percentage, considering that there are more male sufferers of TGA, and men are less prone to migraine.

TGA usually occurs in the middle-aged or elderly.  It’s sometimes preceded by headache and nausea (two common migraine symptoms).  How might migraine be involved?  And might migraine contribute to other memory problems?  I think it’s likely.  What’s your opinion?

Thanks to Mind Hacks for the heads up on this topic.

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