24-Hour Distribution of Migraine Attacks

Authors

  • Karl Alstadhaug MD,

    1. From the Nordlandssykehuset – Neurology, Bodø, Norway (Drs. Alstadhaug and Salvesen); Tromsø University Hospital – Neurology, Tromsø, Norway (Dr. Bekkelund).
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  • Rolf Salvesen MD, PhD,

    1. From the Nordlandssykehuset – Neurology, Bodø, Norway (Drs. Alstadhaug and Salvesen); Tromsø University Hospital – Neurology, Tromsø, Norway (Dr. Bekkelund).
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  • Svein Bekkelund MD, PhD

    1. From the Nordlandssykehuset – Neurology, Bodø, Norway (Drs. Alstadhaug and Salvesen); Tromsø University Hospital – Neurology, Tromsø, Norway (Dr. Bekkelund).
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Dr. Karl Alstadhaug, MD, Nordlandssykehuset – Neurology, Prinsens gate 164, Bodø, 8011, Norway.

Abstract

Background.— It is a widespread opinion that migraine attacks arise more frequently in the morning and that circadian rhythms may be responsible for the temporal pattern in migraine. However, only one small prospective study has previously been published on this topic.

Objective.— To investigate circadian variation in migraine.

Method.— Eighty-nine females in fertile age who had participated in a previous questionnaire-based study volunteered to prospectively record in detail every migraine attack for 12 consecutive months. We reviewed all diary entries covering the period from March 2004 through April 2005, and did time-series analysis.

Results.— Fifty-eight patients had complete recordings over the 12 months and 26 completed the diaries for 1–11 months. Three patients were excluded due to missing data and 2 patients were excluded due to chronic migraine or medication-overuse headache. A total of 2314 attacks were experienced, in average 27.5 per patient (range 1–75). By fitting a sine curve to the data there was a harmonic trend with a peak around 13.40 and the peak/low ratio was 25.6 (95% CI: 8.3–78.6).

Conclusion.— The main finding in our study is that migraine attacks tend to recur in a harmonic 24-hour cyclic manner with a peak around the middle of the day and that there is no difference between migraine with aura and migraine without aura regarding this.

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