I’ve been treating stroke, cerebral palsy and other patients with neurological problems at Atlanta Hyperbaric & Wound Care Clinic, LLC since the mid-1990’s. I’ve seen so many good results with hyperbaric oxygen treatment of neurologic injury patients it always anguishes me that so few who would benefit ever get treated. Of course, as I’ve discussed before, science has little to do with the under-utilization of hyperbaric oxygen for neurologic injury or any other indication, for that matter.
I came across an interesting article this week that firms up the long-suspected association between migraine headache and stroke. Both disorders are common, so researchers must employ strong statistical methods to be certain that any association isn’t just chance coincidence of two common things. Harvard researchers did a meta-analysis of nine separate statistical studies that looked at the association of stroke with migraine. The overall result was that migraine about doubles the risk of stroke. At particular risk for stroke were patients who had aura with migraine. In other words, the 15% or so who have a distinct warning that the migraine headache was about to start were at the highest risk for stroke. Others with migraine who had increased risk of stroke were women, those under age 45, smokers, and women on oral contraceptives. An accompanying editorialist concluded that women with aura and migraine should give great thought before using oral contraceptives. Of course, anyone with migraines has to be scrupulous about treating cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking.
A hyperbaric oxygen treatment can break a migraine attack and give a sufferer great relief. Of course, hyperbaric oxygen treatment of migraines is usually not practical because of availability problems. But, I once had a nurse working for me who sometimes had to slip into one of our chambers to get relief-it would break her attack and keep her in the clinic, instead of going home and letting the headache get the best of her.