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Journal: Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache


BackgroundHeadache associated with sexual activity is a well-known primary headache disorder. In contrast, some case reports in the literature suggest that sexual activity during a migraine or cluster headache attack might relieve the pain in at least some patients. We performed an observational study among patients of a tertiary headache clinic.MethodsA questionnaire was sent to 800 unselected migraine patients and 200 unselected cluster headache patients. We asked for experience with sexual activity during a headache attack and its impact on headache intensity. The survey was strictly and completely anonymous.ResultsIn total, 38% of the migraine patients and 48% of the patients with cluster headache responded. In migraine, 34% of the patients had experience with sexual activity during an attack; out of these patients, 60% reported an improvement of their migraine attack (70% of them reported moderate to complete relief) and 33% reported worsening. In cluster headache, 31% of the patients had experience with sexual activity during an attack; out of these patients, 37% reported an improvement of their cluster headache attack (91% of them reported moderate to complete relief) and 50% reported worsening. Some patients, in particular male migraine patients, even used sexual activity as a therapeutic tool.ConclusionsThe majority of patients with migraine or cluster headache do not have sexual activity during headache attacks. Our data suggest, however, that sexual activity can lead to partial or complete relief of headache in some migraine and a few cluster headache patients.

Concepts: Scientific method, Paracetamol, Attack, Headache, Headaches, Cluster headache, Neurological disorders, Hemicrania continua


BACKGROUND: Cluster headache is associated with structural abnormalities of the hypothalamus. We were interested in the association of cluster headache with endocrinological functional abnormalities. Therefore, we applied the apomorphine challenge test, which is a specific test of hypothalamic dopaminergic activation. METHODS: We enrolled 13 patients with cluster headache outside the bout and without medication. They were stimulated with 0.005 mg/kg of body weight subcutaneous apomorphine hydrochloride. After 45 and 60 minutes, growth hormone (GH), prolactin and cortisol were measured. The test was also applied to 14 sex- and age-matched healthy control subjects. RESULTS: There were significantly higher GH levels in healthy subjects as compared to cluster headache patients 45 minutes after injection (10.8 ± 10.8 versus 4.4 ± 7.4 ng/ml; P  = 0.038). Only in cluster headache, the GH level after 60 minutes was not significantly different from the baseline. The levels of prolactin and cortisol did not show any significant differences between cluster headache patients and in healthy subjects. DISCUSSION: Our data suggest that cluster headache is associated with an impaired dopaminergic stimulation. This finding supports the body of evidence that cluster headache is associated with a functional abnormality of the hypothalamus and that this association is a primary (i.e. idiopathic) and not a secondary phenomenon during the bout.

Concepts: Hypothalamus, Pituitary gland, Prolactin, Growth hormone, Dopamine, Somatostatin, Anterior pituitary, Dopaminergic


Objective To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) for the preventive treatment of migraine. Background sTMS was originally developed for the acute treatment of migraine with aura. Open label experience has suggested a preventive benefit. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of sTMS for migraine prevention. Methods The eNeura SpringTMS Post-Market Observational U.S. Study of Migraine (ESPOUSE) Study was a multicenter, prospective, open label, observational study. From December 2014 to March 2016, patients with migraine (n = 263) were consented to complete a 1-month baseline headache diary followed by 3 months of treatment. The treatment protocol consisted of preventive (four pulses twice daily) and acute (three pulses repeated up to three times for each attack) treatment. Patients reported daily headache status, medication use, and device use with a monthly headache diary. The primary endpoint, mean reduction of headache days compared to baseline, was measured over the 28-day period during weeks 9 to 12. The primary endpoint was compared to a statistically-derived placebo estimate (performance goal). Secondary endpoints included: 50% responder rate, acute headache medication consumption, HIT-6, and mean reduction in total headache days from baseline of any intensity. Results Of a total of 263 consented subjects, 229 completed a baseline diary, and 220 were found to be eligible based on the number of headache days. The device was assigned to 217 subjects (Safety Data Set) and 132 were included in the intention to treat Full Analysis Set. For the primary endpoint, there was a -2.75 ± 0.40 mean reduction of headache days from baseline (9.06 days) compared to the performance goal (-0.63 days) ( p < 0.0001). The 50% responder rate of 46% (95% CI 37%, 56%) was also significantly higher ( p < 0.0001) than the performance goal (20%). There was a reduction of -2.93 (5.24) days of acute medication use, headache impact measured by HIT-6, -3.1 (6.4) ( p < 0.0001), and total headache days of any intensity -3.16 days (5.21) compared to the performance goal (-0.63 days) ( p < 0.0001). The most common adverse events were lightheadedness (3.7%), tingling (3.2%), and tinnitus (3.2%). There were no serious adverse events. Conclusions This open label study suggests that sTMS may be an effective, well-tolerated treatment option for migraine prevention. Trial registration number NCT02357381.


Background: Few studies to date have captured perfusion and vascular permeability changes during a migraineur’s aura. This may be important information to the clinician in the context of the differential diagnosis of migraine with aura versus acute stroke. Summary: We report a case in which magnetic resonance perfusion during a migraine aura showed unilateral hypoperfusion differentially affecting gray and white matter and was associated with a hemispheric increase in permeability. Conclusions: Imaging in this case suggests that migraine aura is associated with oligemia below the threshold for infarction. Increased vascular permeability may be a critical mechanism contributing to perfusion changes observed in migraine with aura.

Concepts: Medical terms, Stroke, Migraine, Epilepsy, Complex partial seizure, Differential diagnosis, Aura, Scintillating scotoma


Aims:A case report suggested the efficacy of cannabis to treat cluster headache (CH) attacks. Our aims were to study the frequency of cannabis use in CH patients, and the reported effects on attacks.Methods:A total of 139 patients with CH attending two French headache centers filled out questionnaires.Results:Sixty-three of the 139 patients (45.3%) had a history of cannabis use. As compared to nonusers, cannabis users were more likely to be younger (p < 0.001), male (p = 0.002) and tobacco smokers (p < 0.001). Among the 27 patients (19.4% of the total cohort) who had tried cannabis to treat CH attacks, 25.9% reported some efficacy, 51.8% variable or uncertain effects, and 22.3% negative effects.Conclusions:Cannabis use is very frequent in CH patients, but its efficacy for the treatment of the attacks is limited. Less than one third of self-reported users mention a relief of their attacks following inhalation. Cannabis should not be recommended for CH unless controlled trials with synthetic selective cannabinoids show a more convincing therapeutic benefit.

Concepts: Cannabis, Cluster headache, Cannabinoid, Cannabidiol


BackgroundDecreased level of consciousness is a rare neurological manifestation of spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH), which typically presents with orthostatic headache. The optimal management of this uncommon presentation remains uncertain.MethodsWe analyzed the presentation, management and outcome of two patients in our institution and reviewed 22 patients reported in the literature with SIH and decreased level of consciousness, defined as any decrease in the patient’s Glasgow Coma Scale score.ResultsThere were 20 male and four female patients (M:F ratio of 5:1) with an average age of 52 years (range 37 to 68 years). There was a variable time interval of up to many months between the initial presentation of SIH and changes in the level of consciousness. An epidural autologous blood patch was eventually successful in 79% of the patients, although up to three trials were necessary in seven of these patients. Intrathecal saline infusion used as a temporizing measure resulted in excellent response within hours in five out of six patients who received this treatment. Drainage of the subdural collection either did not result in any sustained improvement or resulted in clinical deterioration in 12 out of 12 patients who received this treatment.ConclusionsIn the absence of a clinical trial because of the rarity of this entity, the treatment of SIH complicated by decreased level of consciousness remained controversial in the past. However, current collective experience supports early treatment of patients with SIH and decreased level of consciousness with one or more epidural blood patches. Fibrin glue and surgical duroplasty are the next steps in the management of patients in whom epidural blood patches fail. Drainage of the subdural collections may be detrimental.

Concepts: Patient, Neurology, Orthostatic hypotension, Glasgow Coma Scale, Coma, Result, Spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak, Orthostatic headache


Introduction:While inhalation of high-flow 100% oxygen is highly effective in cluster headache, studies on its efficacy in migraine are sparse and controversial.Case:We report the case of a 22-year-old patient with an eight-year history of strictly unilateral migraine without aura but cranial autonomic symptoms. She repeatedly responded completely to inhalation of high-flow pure oxygen within 15 min but suffered from recurrence of attacks within 30 min after discontinuation.Discussion:In line with experimental animal studies, this case suggests a clinically relevant efficacy of inhaled oxygen in patients with migraine with accompanying cranial autonomic symptoms.

Concepts: Medical terms, Migraine, Hyperbaric medicine, Headaches, Cluster headache, Oxygen therapy, Neurological disorders, Scintillating scotoma


Certain chronic diseases such as migraine result in episodic, debilitating attacks for which neither cause nor timing is well understood. Historically, possible triggers were identified through analysis of aggregated data from populations of patients. However, triggers common in populations may not be wholly responsible for an individual’s attacks. To explore this hypothesis we developed a method to identify individual ‘potential trigger’ profiles and analysed the degree of inter-individual variation.

Concepts: Medicine, Medical terms


The objective of this review is to describe auditory hallucinations (paracusias) associated with migraine attacks to yield insights into their clinical significance and pathogenesis.

Concepts: Evaluation methods, Schizophrenia, Hallucination


The nature of the migraine aura and its role in migraine pathophysiology is incompletely understood. In particular, the mechanisms underlying aura initiation and the causal relation between aura and headache are unknown. The scientific investigation of aura in patients is only possible if aura can be triggered. This paper reviews potential methods for the experimental provocation of migraine aura.

Concepts: Causality, Migraine, Science, Research, Experiment, Peer review, Theory, Aura