Migraines May Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk

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The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes may be lower in women who experience migraines, according to the results of a recent study.

Published online last month by the journal JAMA Neurology, the research was based on data from a group of over 74,000 French women born between 1925 and 1950 whose health has been tracked by researchers since 1990.

For the current study, participants initially completed a questionnaire in 2002 that included questions about their experience with migraines. They were then followed between 2004 and 2014. At the beginning of the study, by design, none of the participants had diabetes.

During the 10 years of follow-up, 2,372 of the participants developed drug-treated Type 2 diabetes, as shown by prescription records. But this risk wasn’t spread evenly throughout the group — women who reported ongoing migraines were only 70 percent as likely to develop diabetes, after adjusting for diabetes risk factors.

What’s more, among the women who did develop diabetes, the percentage who had active migraines was found to have dropped from 22 percent to 11 percent over the 24 years before their diabetes diagnosis. This rate stayed about the same, around 11 percent, after developing diabetes.

This decrease in migraines leading up to a diabetes diagnosis is “most interesting” and indicates a link between blood glucose regulation and migraines, according to the study’s lead author, Guy Fagherazzi, PhD, a researcher at the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health at Paris-South Paris Saclay University in Villejuif, France.

“If the results are replicated by others, it could have an impact on the way we screen people at risk for Type 2 diabetes,” says Fagherazzi. Once this is done, he says, the next logical step would be to look at the connection between migraines and diabetes in men.

“That would be helpful to understand … if there are some hormonal mechanisms, or other mechanisms, that could be involved only in women” and affect both migraine and diabetes risk, Fagherazzi adds.

Want to learn about other recent Type 2 diabetes research? Read “Study Links Type 2 Diabetes to Cognitive Decline,” “Breakfast and Body-Mass Index” and “Bariatric Surgery and Type 2 Diabetes.”

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