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Allergens might trigger migraine attacks


Migraine is a common primary headache disorder. The mechanisms underlying the onset of a migraine attack are not completely understood. Environmental changes and a number of other factors could induce migraine attacks. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the frequency of migraine attacks and allergens. Migraine patients without aura, and healthy individuals similar in age and gender without a history of headache and allergy were prospectively included in the study. The duration of migraine, the frequency of migraine attacks, the medication history, and the symptoms during attacks were questioned. Migraine disability assessment score (MIDAS) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores were obtained. Allergen extracts including dust, fungi, insect, animal epithelium, pollens, and food allergens were applied for allergy tests. 49 migraine patients and 49 healthy individuals were enrolled in the study. There was no significant difference in terms of age and gender. The median migraine disease duration, the number of attacks in a month, and the duration of attacks were, respectively, 5.5 years (1–44), 4 (1–10) day/month, and 24 (4–72) h. The mean MIDAS grade was 2.45 ± 0.14 (1–4), and mean VAS score was 7.89 ± 0.27 (4–10). The positivity of allergy tests was 55.1 % (27/49) in the migraine group and 32.7 % (16/49) in the control group (p < 0.05). The allergy tests were positive for house dust, red birch, hazel tree, olive tree, nettle, and wheat. The frequency of migraine attacks was higher in allergy-test-positive patients than in negative ones in the migraine group (p = 0.001). The migraine patients who had frequent attacks should be examined for allergies.

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H. Bektas: data collection and writing; H. Karabulut: data collection and editing; B. Doganay: analysis; B. Acar: editing.

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Correspondence to Hesna Bektas.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008. Ethical approval of the study was granted by the Ethics Committee.

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Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.



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Bektas, H., Karabulut, H., Doganay, B. et al. Allergens might trigger migraine attacks. Acta Neurol Belg 117, 91–95 (2017).

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  • Migraine
  • Allergy