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28 Mar 2007

brain oras
hi doc

i have suffered two strokes at the age of 22 and have been prescirbed trepolne and topimax due to the headaches, but now apparently all the neurologists are away till monday on some conference they all attend every year

and i went to he gp, who contacted there local neurolgist and he said i am experiencing brain oras, what is this, i googled it but nothing

Answer 940 views
Headache expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear Brain Oras,

The reason you found nothing on Google was that you unfortunately had the wrong spelling – it is spelled ‘aura’.

An aura is something that many headache sufferers experience, usually before the pain starts. They may take different forms, such as seeing stars or sparkling lights, or one may lose part of one’s vision. The fingers can go numb, or one may experience difficulty speaking. The aura usually goes away when the pain starts. Sa the aura is only temporary, it is not dangerous. If the medication is not helping the aura, then it means that it isn’t working. These medications should only be prescribed when non-drug treatments are unsuccessful, as they are often not effective and in many people have side effects.

What is of greater concern is the fact that you have had two strokes at the age of 22. Have your doctors been able to tell you why you are getting the strokes? Have they told you that people who suffer from migraine with aura have a greater chance of getting strokes, especially if they are young females on the pill, and even worse, if they smoke?

You may also have a condition called Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO), which is a small hole in the heart. This may be the cause of your strokes, and is usually easy to close without heart surgery. It is vitally important that you undergo the proper tests to see if you have a PFO. If the neurologist you saw didn’t send you to have this tested, then I suggest that you get another opinion. Strokes are potentially life threatening, and if you have a PFO that can easily be closed, it may be a life saving procedure!

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic on 0861 678 911 (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban).

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.