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Volume 16 Supplement 1

1st Joint ANIRCEF-SISC Congress

  • Invited speaker presentation
  • Open Access

Vestibular migraine

The Journal of Headache and Pain201516 (Suppl 1) :A48

  • Published:


  • Migraine
  • Migraine Attack
  • International Headache Society
  • Vestibular Disorder
  • Vestibular Migraine

Vestibular migraine (VM) has been increasingly recognized as a frequent cause of episodic vertigo, affecting up to 1% of the general population, with female preponderance[1].

Recently, both the Bárány Society and the Migraine Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society have proposed original diagnostic criteria for VM, which have been included in the recent edition of the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-3 beta version). VM diagnosis implies that vestibular symptoms are present during a migraine attack, with or without headache, in the absence of objectively demonstrated interictal vestibulopathy.

In the last decades, several studies have attempted to identify the electrophysiologic markers that could allow a distinction between VM and other vestibular disorders. Nevertheless, despite a growing body of literature, there is still an ongoing debate regarding whether VM origin is principally central or peripheral. However, during the past few years, the extensive application of advanced MRI techniques has contributed to significantly improving the understanding of VM pathophysiology. Functional and structural abnormalities have been detected in brain areas involved in multisensory vestibular control and central vestibular processing in patients with VM[24]. However, functional and structural alterations identified in patients experiencing VM also resemble those previously described for migraine. In conclusion, VM probably represents the pathophysiological paradigm of migraine and vestibular pathways connection.

Similarly to migraine pharmacological preventive therapy, VM treatment includes different prophylactic medications such as calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, antiepileptic drugs and antidepressants, reporting consistent reduction of vertigo spells and or migraine attacks in a high rate of patients.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Medical, Surgical, Neurological, Metabolic and Aging Sciences, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy
MRI Research Centre SUN-FISM, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy
Institute for Diagnosis and Care “Hermitage Capodimonte”, Naples, Italy


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  2. Shin JH, Kim YK, Kim HJ, Kim JS: Altered brain metabolism in vestibular migraine: comparison of interictal and ictal findings. Cephalalgia. 2014, 34 (1): 58-67. 10.1177/0333102413498940.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Russo A, Marcelli V, Esposito F, Corvino V, Marcuccio L, Giannone A, Conforti R, Marciano E, Tedeschi G, Tessitore A: Abnormal thalamic function in patients with vestibular migraine. Neurology. 2014, 82 (23): 2120-2126. 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000496.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
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© Russo et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


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