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Comparative Study
. 2007 Jun;78(6):600-4.
doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2006.100214. Epub 2006 Oct 20.

Migraine With Unilateral Motor Symptoms: A Case-Control Study

Free PMC article
Comparative Study

Migraine With Unilateral Motor Symptoms: A Case-Control Study

William B Young et al. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article


Objective: To characterise the clinical features of non-familial migraine with unilateral motor symptoms (MUMS) and compare these features with those of migraine without weakness.

Methods: 24 patients with MUMS and 48 matched controls were identified from a tertiary care headache centre. Using a structured interview, the migraine symptoms of both groups were characterised. Results of previously administered Beck Depression Inventories (BDI), Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventories and psychiatric diagnoses were collected, when available, and compared between groups.

Results: 9 patients had episodic migraine and 15 had chronic migraine. Patients with MUMS always had weakness involving the arm subjectively, and both arm and leg objectively. A give-way character was always present. Only 17% of patients with MUMS reported facial weakness; 58% reported persistent interictal weakness; 92% reported sensory symptoms. A rostrocaudal march of sensory and motor symptoms was frequently reported. Weakness was ipsilateral to unilateral headache in two thirds of the patients. Compared with controls, patients with MUMS had had similar pain intensities, but were more likely to report other migrainous symptoms, including allodynia. 38% of patients with MUMS were told they had had a stroke, and 17% believed they had had a stroke despite normal brain imaging. Patients with MUMS reported fewer affective disorders and more adjustment disorders than controls, and had similar BDI scores.

Conclusions: A syndrome of severe migraine with accompanying give-way weakness is common in tertiary care headache centres. It is accompanied by other neurological symptoms.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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