Numerous studies, including five meta-analyses, have linked migraine, particularly migraine with aura, with increased risk of ischaemic stroke. The relative risk of ischaemic stroke is doubled in people with migraine with aura compared with migraine-free individuals. (1)
Now a large retrospective cohort study in Taiwan suggests that acupuncture is effective at reducing the risk of stroke in patients with migraine. The university-based authors collected data from a national insurance database on all newly diagnosed migraine patients over an 18 year period, and assigned them to an acupuncture or non-acupuncture cohort. They then followed them up until the end of 2018. Each cohort consisted of 1354 patients with similar baseline characteristics.
On analysis, the acupuncture cohort showed significantly less risk of stroke across male and female patients, and the authors conclude that these findings support the use of acupuncture in migraine patients to reduce long-term stroke risk.
(Acupuncture Is Effective at Reducing the Risk of Stroke in Patients with Migraines: A Real-World, Large-Scale Cohort Study with 19-Years of Follow-Up. International Journal Environmental Research & Public Health, 17 January 2023.)
(1) Migraine and risk of stroke. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, Volume 91, Issue 6.