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New research 868: Central origin of CH?

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#1 Wed, 24/09/2014 - 14:30
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New research 868: Central origin of CH?

Cephalalgia. 2014 Aug 20. pii: 0333102414545893. [Epub ahead of print]

Reduced cranial parasympathetic tone during the remission phase of cluster headache.

Ofte HK1, von Hanno T2, Alstadhaug KB2.

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Cluster headache (CH) attacks are accompanied by cranial autonomic symptoms indicative of parasympathetic hyperactivity and sympathetic dysfunction ipsilateral to the pain. We aimed to assess cranial autonomic function in CH patients during the remission phase of cluster headache.


During a remission phase, 38 episodic CH patients underwent the following: dynamic pupillometry, measurement of the superficial temporal artery diameter by ultrasound, and measurement of the retinal vessel diameters from digital retinal photographs. Pupillometry was also performed on 30 age- and sex-matched healthy controls.


Thirty patients were included (27 men, three women, mean age 50.2 years ± 12.6). Seven patients reported occasional side shift of their headache, but with a clear predominating side. Significantly reduced average pupillary constriction velocity and retinal venular diameter on the CH pain side were found. There was no asymmetry of the superficial temporal artery diameters. Compared to healthy controls, cluster patients displayed bilaterally reduced pupillary average and maximum constriction velocities, reduced constriction in percentage and increased latency of the light reflex.


The present findings indicate a bilaterally reduced cranial parasympathetic tone in CH patients in remission phase, with significant lateralization to the CH pain side. This implies a central origin, and a central pathophysiological model of CH is discussed.


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