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“Headache And Epilepsy” — How Are They Connected?

L. Papetti, F. Nicita, P. Parisi, A. Spalice, D. G. Trenité
Published 2013 · Medicine

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The relationship between headache and seizures is a complicated one, since these two conditions are related in numerous ways. Although the nature of this association is unclear, several plausible explanations exist: the two disorders coexist by chance; headache is part (or even the sole ictal phenomenon) of seizures or the post-ictal state; both disorders share a common underlying etiology; and epilepsy mimics the symptoms of migraine (as in benign childhood epilepsy). Seizures and headaches as well as their respective primary syndromes (epilepsy and headache/migraine) share several pathophysiological mechanisms. These mechanisms especially involve neurotransmitter and ion channel dysfunctions. Also, photosensitivity seems to play a role in the connection. In order to improve the care for patients with a clinical connection between migraine and epilepsy, it is necessary to try to understand more accurately the exact pathophysiological point of connection between these two conditions. Both experimental and clinical measures are required to better understand this relationship. The development of animal models, molecular studies defining more precise genotype/phenotype correlations, and multicenter clinical studies with revision of clinical criteria for headache/epilepsy-related disorders represent the start for planning future translational research. In this paper, we review the relationship between migraine and epilepsy in terms of epidemiology and pathophysiology with regard to translational research and clinical correlations and classification.
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