Migraine: Pathophysiology and classification

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Migraine is a chronic, complex and disabling whole-brain disorder. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 identified migraine in the seventh place in terms of years of life lost to disability. Migraine is characterized by attacks of severe, unilateral pulsating headache associated with autonomic symptoms. The International Headache Society published definitions of migraine in order to standardize diagnosis and to improve recognition and treatment. The classification is devised from clinical features. At least 12 % of the general adult population suffers from migraine. Migraine has a strong genetic component, and the genetic basis may be identified as a combined rare and infinitesimal allele model. Genetic background could result a key determinant in lowered threshold for activations of the trigeminovascular system by cortical spreading depression in a particular environmental context. Cortical spreading depression is a wave of neuronal depolarization propagating across the brain grey matter. A signalling pathway between cortical spreading depression and trigeminal afferent may be sustained by oxidative stress. Migraine is possibly a disorder of brain excitability characterized by dysfunctional sensory processing and dysregulation of brain excitatory-inhibitory balance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVestibular Migraine and Related Syndromes
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9783319070223, 9783319070216
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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