A study of 36,000 women found those who had either suffered from different types of migraine in the past, or continued to experience episodes, were at a 36 per cent higher risk of developing depression over 14 years. All those who enrolled in the study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), had never being diagnosed with depression.
Over the 14 years they were followed on average, almost 4,000 developed the mental illness. The researchers found the 6,500 women with current or past migraine were at a higher risk. Those with a condition called migraine with aura appeared to be at a higher risk still (43 per cent) than those who had migraine without aura (29 per cent), although the difference was not statistically significant.
Dr Tobias Kurth, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass., said: "We hope our findings will encourage doctors to speak to their migraine patients about the risk of depression and potential ways to prevent depression."
He and colleagues are to present their findings at the American Academy of Neurology's annual conference in New Orleans in April. The study could not draw any conclusions about any possible link between migraine and depression in men because it only looked at women.