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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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There is no accepted aetiology of common migraine and migraine with aura.

Several theories are proposed:

Vascular theory:

  • some studies e.g. PET scans of migraineurs, suggest that the aura is due to an spreading area of vascoconstriction over the brain
  • there is some evidence that the headache in migraine is due to subsequent vasodilatation of blood vessels
  • the association of stroke with migraine supports a vascular aetiology

Neuronal theory:

  • aura are associated with spreading neuronal inhibition which does not respect vascular territories
  • neuronal dysfunction could be the cause of the spreading vasoconstriction

A hypothalamic trigger may cause periodic overactivity of the trigeminal pain pathways

Familial hemiplegic migraine (2)

  • new genetic data have allowed a more precise definition of Familial hemiplegic migraine than was previously possible. Specific genetic subforms have been identified: in FHM1 there are mutations in the

A family history of migraine is common, with the heritability estimated to be approximately 42% (3)


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