Women are twice as likely to suffer from migraines, and medical researchers are focusing their efforts on understanding how this chronic neurological disease can be treated. A recent study performed by researchers from a Boston medical center suggests a strong link between depression and migraines in women.
The study, which involved following the health condition of 36,000 women over a period of 14 years, indicates that middle-aged women diagnosed with a migraine condition have a propensity for depression that is 40 percent higher than average. About 18 percent of the research subjects had reported migraines or strong headaches when they entered the study, and 11 percent were eventually diagnosed with clinical depression.
Even a single migraine episode could increase the likelihood of depression in women by 36 percent. Researchers took into account the age of the women as well as their tobacco and liquor intake, which are factors that may also contribute to depression. In the end, the type of migraine experienced by women did not impact the propensity for depression.
Establishing the link between migraines and depressions is at the heart of the research study. The fact that migraines occur more commonly in women than men should not preclude similar links from being detected in men. Although migraine and depression have traditionally been observed by physicians over the years, the Boston study offers a closer look at how even one single migraine episode can be followed by depression.
Understanding the timing of migraines and depression is crucial for both neurologists and mental health practitioners. It is already known that constant migraines can effectively lower patient's quality of life to the point of becoming depressed; what this study contributes to is the interplay of brain chemistry.
If it can be established that 40 percent of women who suffer one migraine attack are likely to become depressed, it could be inferred that certain chemicals released by a woman's brain during cephalalgia episodes may play a part in depression. These chemicals are often known as biomarkers, and they can help physicians who favor the prevention and early intervention of both migraine and depressive episodes.
As it stands, migraines and depression are still puzzles that need to be solved for the purpose of improving quality of life. Although depression is a mental state, researchers have determined that the causes are not always emotional. When migraines significantly increase the likelihood of depression in middle-aged women, there are strong reasons to believe that brain chemistry is involved.
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