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Open Access 01-12-2022 | Migraine | Research

Relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and white matter lesions in patients with migraine

Authors: Serkan Öcal, Ruhsen Öcal, Nuretdin Suna

Published in: BMC Neurology | Issue 1/2022

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White matter lesions (WML) are more frequently observed in migraine patients than in the average population. Associations between Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and different extraintestinal pathologies have been identified. Here, we aimed to investigate the association between H. pylori infection and WML in patients diagnosed with episodic migraine.

Materials and methods

A retrospective study was conducted with 526 subjects with a diagnosis of episodic migraine. Hyperintensity of WML had been previously evaluated in these patients with brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations. Previous endoscopic gastric biopsy histopathological examination of the same patients and reports on H. pylori findings were recorded. The demographic characteristics of the patients, such as age, gender and chronic systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus (DM) were recorded. Statistical evaluation was made.


Evaluation was made among 526 migraine patients who met the inclusion criteria, comprising 397 (75.5%) females and 129 (24.5%) males with a mean age of 45.57 ± 13.46 years (range, 18–69 years). WML was detected on brain MRI in 178 (33.8%) patients who were also positive for H. pylori (p <  0.05). Subjects who are H. pylori-positive with migraine, WML were observed at a 2.5-fold higher incidence on brain MRI (odds ratio: 2.562, 95% CI 1.784–3.680). WML was found to be more significant in patients with hypertension and migraine than those without (p <  0.001). Older age was also found to be associated with WML (OR = 1.07, 95% CI: 0.01–0.04, p <  0.001). The age (p <  0.001), H. pylori (p <  0.001), hypertension (p <  0.001), and hypertension + DM (p <  0.05), had significant associations in predicting WML according to the multivariate logistic regression analysis. The presence of hypertension had a higher odds ratio value than the other variables.


It was concluded that H. pylori infection, as a chronic infection, can be considered a risk factor in developing WML in subjects with migraine.
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Relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and white matter lesions in patients with migraine
Serkan Öcal
Ruhsen Öcal
Nuretdin Suna
Publication date
BioMed Central
Published in
BMC Neurology / Issue 1/2022
Electronic ISSN: 1471-2377

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