Migraines are severe headaches known to cause pain on one side of the head. Those with the condition may also experience other symptoms like sensitivity to light, visual disturbances, and nausea. The impact that a migraine causes on a person is so powerful, it has been known to knock people out and causes a significant loss of productivity.

To give you an idea on how big of a problem migraine is, according to the American Migraine Foundation, over $20 billion dollars is lost to cover medical expenses and work productivity.

On the bright side, it is a treatable condition that leaves no lasting damage to our brain. That is until recently, a new study found out that migraines can shape our brains differently.

In a study published in the Journal of Neurology, it was stated that migraines actually leave a lasting mark on the structure of our brain.  With the use of MRI technology, researchers were able to detect structural abnormalities on those who suffer from migraines. By looking at the data from 13 clinic studies and 6 population-based ones, they were able to identify the changes associated with migraines.

The results are quite shocking, especially that for so long migraines were thought of as transient conditions. 68 percent of the patients who suffer from migraines with auras have an increased chance of developing white matter brain lesions. Those who have migraines without aura symptoms only have 34 percent tendency to have lesions.

Currently, the date cannot tell the long term effects of the lesions found. A more in-depth study would be required to complete establish the true impact of migraines. What is alarming is that over 15 percent of the population in the US has migraines. Migraines that slowly sculpts the delicate structure of the brain. We can only hope that these changes have no great impact on the function of our brains and that migraine treatments may improve to address the consequence it causes.

American Migraine Foundation

Migraine and structural changes in the brain

http://www.neurology.org/content/81/14/1260

The prevalence, impact, and treatment of migraine and severe headaches in the United States: a review of statistics from national surveillance studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23470015