Migraine Linked to Heart Disease in Women

July 19, 2006

-- MIGRAINES LINKED TO HEART DISEASE IN WOMEN Middle-aged and older women who have migraine headaches accompanied by aura symptoms may have an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart death, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Migraines with auras are headaches accompanied by visual changes, such as seeing spots and flashes, or a sensitivity to light. A new study from Brigham and Women's Hospital finds that women who had migraines with auras had about two times the risk of major heart disease, heart attacks and heart death compared with nonmigraine sufferers. Women who had migraines without aura symptoms did not have increased heart risk. The results give good reason for women with aura migraines to be extra vigilant about their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but there is no reason to panic because overall risk of death in this study was low. Only 130 women out of nearly 28,000 studied died over 10 years of study.

BREAST-FEEDING RELIEVES NEWBORNS' PAIN A new review from the prestigious Cochrane Library says that breast-feeding newborns may relieve the pain from a needle prick used to screen their blood for disease. Data gathered from more than 1,000 newborns show that they experienced less pain when being breast-fed compared with other remedies to relieve pain, such as swaddling, using a pacifier or drinking water. The research team from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto believes that breast-feeding could possibly help relieve pain for premature babies who need to undergo many painful ICU procedures.

REMEDY FULL OF HOT AIR Using humid air, such as through hot baths or showers, does not appear to ease the harsh cough and breathing endured by kids suffering from the croup, suggests a new review of evidence in the Cochrane Library. British reviewers looked at three studies on 135 kids treated in the emergency room with croup and found no benefit from using moisturized air.

TAMIFLU DOESN'T STOP VIRUS SPREAD The antiviral medications Tamiflu and Relenza both reduce symptoms in people who have the flu, but they don't appear to stop people from becoming infected with the flu virus, according to a review of 17 studies. Researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration vaccine program in Rome say they don't know how effective the medications would be in preventing the spread of a pandemic, since they don't seem to stop healthy people from becoming ill with regular seasonal flu.

STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical Unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.