April 24, 2007

Migraines are good for your brain.

Especially migraines with aura. For some unknown reason, they seem to help with memory and cognition in the long run, not that it's worth the hours of debilitating suffering, but it's some consolation.

I don't have migraines myself, but I did once experience pre-migraine aura without the migraine. Read the scintillating details of my scotoma here.

11 comments:

Kevin Lomax said...

There are migraines running in my family. I've had the auras a few times and once when young had the full scotoma as you described. It started out small while I was eating dinner with the family and grew so I couldn't see the anything in the center of my vision including the food. I described it then as a rotating and growing paisley shape. The ensuing headache never quite lived up to my expectations.

Then again, I used to have rather nasty standard headaches almost routinely. Sometime after college these went away and I don't miss them.

Christy said...

I get, rarely, optical migraines when I'm extremely stressed. Never have developed into a headache. In my case the center of my focus is scrambled. I was on-line the first time it happened and it was as though the letters had been cut into irregular shapes and shuffled.

Theo Boehm said...
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Theo Boehm said...
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Bissage said...

I once experienced a scrotoma while playing high school soccer.

They carried me off the field on a stretcher.

It was not good for my brain.

Peter Palladas said...

What crappy science to posit that there is a direct causal relationship between migraines and superior brain functioning.

All that is demonstrated is that if you are prepared - determined - to live with an illness that strikes with brutal random frequency, one which rips your cerebral cortex through your bleeding eye-sockets with hot burning tongs - again and again and again - without giving up the will to live and taking to drink/drugs and the relief of an early death...then you are the fittest to survive and, therefore, likely to be really bright.

Ordinary mortals who breeze through life without enduring this endless torture are just that. Ordinary.

Theo Boehm said...
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Palladian said...

I'm a migraineur who has classic migraines with auras. I don't always have the aura and the pain together, sometimes one without the other entirely. I'm quite sensitive to the signs that it's going to happen, though sometimes it's quite unexpected. It's a profoundly disabling experience and amazing that people learn to tolerate it. I'm very sensitive to bright light and noise (one of the reasons I hate summer and living in New York, respectively) which, for me, can both be triggers for migraines. I also suspect that fluorescent lights are potential triggers for my migraines.

Oliver Sacks wrote a book called "Migraines" which, while I don't think it's a complete picture of the disorder, is worth a read for a different perspective on migraines.

MadisonMan said...

I also have endured migraines. There's really no more sinking a feeling than starting to see the aura -- especially if you have a deadline approaching. Happily, I may have outgrown them. I haven't had one that nauseated me in quite a few years now. When I see the aura and feel the ice tongs starting to stab behind my eyes, I can now just take Ibuprofen and try to sleep it off. I couldn't do that when I was young -- the pain prevented sleep.

I'm amazed that theo's wife can work through a migraine.

Theo Boehm said...
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Jenna said...

I have suffered from classic migraines since I was diagnosed at 2 years old at children's hospital. I do not have them very often because I have always taken a daily medication; however, when I do get them, I experience the aura and usually sickness. Migraines run in my family and they are extremely aggrivating when they come at inopportune times. I guess you learn to live with them when you have had them your whole life. As for migraines helping with memory skills... I am 20 and have always had straight A's and am going to school to be a neurologist. Not sure that migraines have anything to do with that though, maybe someday I can answer that one!