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The Association Between Migraine and Juvenile Stroke: A Case-Control Study


Address all correspondence to Dr. Sonja Schwaag, Department of Neurology, University of Münster, Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 33, 48129 Münster, Germany.


Background.—Several studies suggest an association between migraine and juvenile stroke. Because of some shortcomings, we designed another case-control study of a homogenous group of patients with juvenile cerebral ischemia. This study is part of a larger German epidemiological research project on the association of migraine with cerebrovascular disease.

Methods.—We enrolled 160 consecutive patients under the age of 46 years with first-ever ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack and 160 strictly sex- and age-matched controls. Patients suffering from arterial dissection, brain hemorrhage, cranial sinus thrombosis, lacunar stroke, or from migrainous infarction were excluded. Migraine was diagnosed according to the criteria of the International Headache Society by the same 2 independent interviewers. For analyzing the data, nonparametric statistical methods including odds ratio and 95% confidence interval were used.

Results.—Migraine was a significant risk factor for juvenile stroke for the total sample with an odds ratio of 2.11 (confidence interval, 1.16 to 3.82). The odds ratio was even higher in the subgroup under the age of 35 (3.26) and in the female subgroup (2.68). We found migraine to be independent from other vascular risk factors, from etiology, and from the territory of stroke.

Conclusions.—We can confirm the findings of previous studies showing a significant association between migraine and juvenile stroke in women. Furthermore, our data suggest migraine to be an even more significant risk factor for patients under the age of 35 and to be independent from other vascular risk factors.