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Sporadic and familial hemiplegic migraine: diagnosis and treatment.

Hemiplegic migraine is a rare subtype of migraine with aura associated with transient hemiplegia. The weakness is caused by motor aura. Hemiplegic migraine is the only headache syndrome associated with known genetic mutations and serves as a model for understanding more common varieties of migraine. Because the phenotype includes striking yet transient neurological signs and symptoms, it is imperative that clinicians know the differential diagnosis to rule out possible secondary etiologies when treating patients with hemiplegic spells. Hemiplegic migraine occurs with equal prevalence in either a sporadic or familial form differentiated only by family history. Thus far, treatment trials are anecdotal, although verapamil and acetazolamide have shown promise.

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