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Reader's Mail: MRI Symptom Common with Migraine

Q. I was diagnosed with Flair Signal Migraines two months ago. The pain varies in intensity but is constant. I have had an MRI, an infusion, and various pain medications. Is there a cure? How does it differ from other types of migraines?

A. A positive FLAIR signal hyperintensity is a finding on an MRI of the brain that is actually common in migraine patients. It is usually described as a “nonspecific white matter lesion” in the cerebral hemispheres. This is not a migraine per se, but is a finding on an MRI of the brain that is indicative of micro-vascular disease. It is usually due to normal aging changes, high blood pressure or migraine. The treatment of migraine is not based on the MRI, but rather on the frequency and severity of the migraine attacks. Migraine is a chronic disease that can be treated with preventive medications and lifestyle modification.

George R. Nissan, D.O.
Co-Director, Diamond Headache Clinic
Chicago, IL

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