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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 304921, 7 pages
Review Article

The Migraine-Ischemic Stroke Relation in Young Adults

1Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Clinica Neurologica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Piazzale Spedali Civili, 1, 25100 Brescia, Italy
2Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Brescia, 25100 Brescia, Italy
3Unità di Neurologia, Istituto Clinico Città di Brescia, 25123 Brescia, Italy

Received 19 September 2010; Accepted 22 November 2010

Academic Editor: Halvor Naess

Copyright © 2011 Alessandro Pezzini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In spite of the strong epidemiologic evidence linking migraine and ischemic stroke in young adults, the mechanisms explaining this association remain poorly understood. The observation that stroke occurs more frequently during the interictal phase of migraine prompts to speculation that an indirect relation between the two diseases might exist. In this regard, four major issues might be considered which may be summarized as follows: (1) the migraine-ischemic stroke relation is influenced by specific risk factors such as patent foramen ovale or endothelial dysfunction and more frequent in particular conditions like spontaneous cervical artery dissection; (2) migraine is associated with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors; (3) the link is caused by migraine-specific drugs; (4) migraine and ischemic vascular events are linked via a genetic component. In the present paper, we will review epidemiological studies, discuss potential mechanisms of migraine-induced stroke and comorbid ischemic stroke, and pose new research questions.