Introduction Identifying female-specific risk markers for cerebrovascular disease is becoming increasingly important. Both migraine and preeclampsia have been associated with higher incidence of brain white matter lesions (WML) and stroke. We assessed the association between WML and migraine among formerly (pre)eclamptic women.
Methods A total of 118 women (76 formerly (pre)eclamptic and 42 control women) were screened for migraine and WML presence. Independent effects of migraine and (pre)eclampsia on WML were assessed.
Results Migraine prevalence did not differ between the (pre)eclamptic (26/76; 34%); and control group (10/42; 24%), p=0.17. Age-adjusted regression analysis failed to show a significant independent effect of migraine (OR 1.14; 95% CI 0.47-2.76; p=0.77) on WML presence, and showed a non-significant effect of (pre)eclampsia (OR 2.30; 95% CI 0.90-5.83; p=0.08).
Conclusion Migraine prevalence was not found to be an independent risk factor for WML prevalence in formerly (pre)eclamptic women. Since this study had a small sample size, larger prospective studies are needed to examine female-specific risk factors for WML and its consequences.