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Migraine Sufferers Are Most At Risk for Allodynia

Other types of headaches less likely to cause the pain condition

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Cutaneous allodynia is more common in people who have migraine headaches than it is among people with other types of severe or chronic headaches, according to a study published in the April 22 issue of Neurology.

Marcelo E. Bigal, M.D., Ph.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues conducted a study of 16,573 people with a history of headache. The subjects completed a questionnaire that included the Allodynia Symptom Checklist as well as questions on headache type, body mass index, disability and depression.

Transformed migraine and episodic migraine sufferers were the most likely to experience cutaneous allodynia; the prevalence was 68.3 percent and 63.2 percent, respectively, versus 42.6 percent for those with probable migraine, 36.8 percent for those with chronic daily headaches and 36.7 percent for those with severe episodic tension-type headaches. Severe cutaneous allodynia afflicted 28.5 percent of transformed migraine sufferers and 20.4 percent of episodic migraine sufferers.

"Among migraineurs, CA (cutaneous allodynia) is associated with female sex, headache frequency, increased body mass index, disability and depression," the authors write. "Of note is the age-related decrease in CA. The reasons for this are unknown, but previous studies have shown that migraine attack frequency and severity decreases with age. Perhaps the activation of pain pathways declines as attacks become less frequent and severe."

The study was supported by a grant from Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, and two authors disclosed financial relationships with Ortho-McNeil and Merck Research Laboratories.

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