GC: n

S: WHO – http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs277/en/ (last access: 5 November 2014); MEDLP – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/migraine.html (last access: 5 November 2014).

N: 1. Late 14c. megrim from Old French migraigne (13 century), from vulgar pronunciation of Late Latin hemicrania “pain in one side of the head, headache,” from Greek hemikrania, from hemi- “half” + kranion “skull”.
2. The Middle English form was re-spelled 1777 on the French model. Related: Migrainous.
3. Migraine is a symptom complex of periodic headaches, usually temporal and unilateral, often with irritability, nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, and photophobia, preceded by constriction of the cranial arteries, often with resultant prodromal sensory, especially ocular, symptoms (aura), and commencing with the vasodilation that follows.
4. Symptoms that signal the onset of a migraine are used to describe two types of migraine.

  1. Migraine with aura (known as “classic” migraine).
  2. Migraine without aura (known as “common” migraine).

An “aura” is a physiological warning sign that a migraine is about to begin. Migraines with auras occur in about 20% to 30% of migraine sufferers. An aura can occur one hour before the attack of pain and last from 15 minutes to one hour. The symptoms always last less than one hour.
5. Rare migraine conditions include these types of neurological auras:

  • Hemiplegic migraine. Temporary paralysis (hemiplegia) or nerve or sensory changes on one side of the body (such as muscle weakness). The onset of the headache may be associated with temporary numbness, dizziness, or vision changes. These need to be differentiated from a stroke.
  • Retinal migraine. Temporary, partial, or complete loss of vision in one eye, along with a dull ache behind the eye that may spread to the rest of the head.
  • Basilar artery migraine. Dizziness, confusion, or loss of balance can precede the headache. The headache pain may affect the back of the head. These symptoms usually occur suddenly and can be associated with the inability to speak properly, ringing in the ears, and vomiting. This type of migraine is strongly related to hormonal changes and primarily affects young adult women.
  • Status migrainosus. A rare and severe type of migraine that can last 72 hours or longer. The pain and nausea are so intense that people who have this type of headache often need to be hospitalized. Certain medications, or medication withdrawal, can cause this type migraine syndrome.
  • Ophthalmoplegic migraine. Pain around the eye, including paralysis in the muscles surrounding the eye. This is an emergency medical condition, as the symptoms can also be caused by pressure on the nerves behind the eye or an aneurysm. Other symptoms of ophthalmoplegic migraines include droopy eyelid, double vision, or other vision changes. Fortunately, this is a rare form of migraine.

6. Cultural Interrelation: Some famous migraineurs… Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), among many others.

S: 1 & 2. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=migraine&searchmode=none (last access: 3 November 2014). 3. DORLAND. 4 & 5. WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/migraines-headaches-migraines?page=2 (last access: 3 November 2014). 6. http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/migraineurs.html (last access: 7 May 2016).

SYN: migraine vascular headache

S: TERMIUM PLUS (last access: 3 November 2014)

CR: micropsia.