Vestibular pathways involvement in children with migraine: a neuro-otological study

Vincenzo Marcelli, Teresa Furia, Elio Marciano
Headache 2010, 50 (1): 71-6

OBJECTIVE: To assess, during symptom free intervals, the clinical, audiological, and vestibular findings in a cohort of child migraine sufferers, with or without vertigo or dizziness or both.

BACKGROUND: In adults and children, dizziness and vertigo are frequently associated with migraine.

METHODS: Twenty-two child migraine sufferers with vestibular symptoms, aged 7-13 years (group A), and 18 child migraine sufferers without vestibular symptoms, aged 8-13 (group B) entered our study between January 2007 and June 2007. The characteristics of auditory functions and vestibular symptoms and signs were assessed and reviewed by a blinded physician.

RESULTS: The whole sample was found audiologically normal. In group A, 6 subjects had normal vestibular test results, whereas vestibular testing disclosed either peripheral or central sufferance or both, in the remaining 16 patients (73%). Twelve subjects from group B had normal vestibular test results whereas positive vestibular test results were reported in the remaining 6 subjects (33%).

CONCLUSIONS: This single-blind work outlines the brain stem abnormalities in children with migraine in the form of direct involvement of peripheral or central vestibular pathways or both. Interestingly, some children with migraine but without vestibular symptoms also had abnormal results at vestibular testing. This could demonstrate a subclinical involvement of vestibular pathways without clinical presentation. The subjects are still being followed up to evaluate the evolution of symptomatology.

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