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May 1945

EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES ON HEADACHETRANSIENT THICKENING OF WALLS OF CRANIAL ARTERIES IN RELATION TO CERTAIN PHENOMENA OF MIGRAINE HEADACHE AND ACTION OF ERGOTAMINE TARTRATE ON THICKENED VESSELS

Author Affiliations

NEW YORK

From the New York Hospital and the Departments of Medicine (Neurology) and Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical College.

Arch NeurPsych. 1945;53(5):329-332. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1945.02300050003001
Abstract

Distention of cranial arteries induces pain of an aching quality.1 On the other hand, when the distended cranial arteries associated with the attack of migraine headache are constricted, the pain is abolished.2 The speed with which vasoconstrictor agents, such as ergotamine tartrate, reduce the intensity of the headache approximates the rate of constriction of the cranial arteries. In many patients the headache arises in the distended branches of the external carotid arteries,3 although any or all of the cranial arteries may be involved at one time or another in migraine headache. Secondary to such pain from prolonged distention of cranial arteries, the skeletal muscles of the neck and scalp contract. Such prolonged contraction in itself becomes painful and adds a component to the migraine headache.4

Certain additional phenomena of the migraine headache which have not been studied before are the subject of this discussion. They may

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