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Entries in Despression (1)

Wednesday
Feb222012

Migraines Linked to Depression in Women

Hemera/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- According to a new study, women with a history of migraines are 41 percent more likely to develop depression than their migraine-free counterparts.

"Our study shows that migraine is a potential risk factor for depression," said study author Dr. Tobias Kurth, a neuroepidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "If you have a chronic intermittent pain condition, you may be more likely to develop depressive symptoms or even depression because you're so bothered by the pain. And it's also possible the conditions share similar pathophysiological features in the brain."

The study followed 36,154 women, 6,456 of whom had a history of migraines. Over an average of 14 years, 3,971 women developed depression -- a diagnosis much more common among migraine sufferers. Kurth and colleagues will present their results in April at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Dr. Joel Saper, director of the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute, said the study confirms a long-suspected link between migraines and depression.

"They can intermingle with each other, and they can masquerade each other," said Saper, adding that both conditions have genetic routes. "And having one makes the other one worse."

Previous studies have found people with depression are more likely to get migraines, suggesting the risk goes both ways.

"It emphasizes the importance of treating both conditions at the same time," said Saper. "Sometimes we can treat both with the same medication."

Migraine and depression are more common in women than in men, which Saper attributes to fluctuations estrogen levels.

"Estrogen makes both of these worse," he said, describing the headaches and mood changes often triggered by the menstrual cycle. "Women are more prone to depression and more prone to migraines, and women who take oral contraceptives are often worse off."

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ABC News Radio