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August 21, 1972

Medical News

JAMA. 1972;221(8):845-855. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200210003002

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Plasma estradiol level linked to migraine during menstrual period  A prize-winning Australian study indicates that migraine headache regularly occurring in association with the menstrual cycle is specifically related to the declining plasma level of estradiol—but not progesterone—that occurs during the premenstrual phase.About 60% of women who suffer from migraine have a menstrual-migraine association that long has been attributed to hormonal changes. There have also been reports that oral contraceptives make the headaches worse—or cause them to begin —in some women. But further information has been generally lacking.It is known, according to Brian W. Somerville, MB, a Sandoz Research Fellow in Neurology at Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney, that plasma progesterone and estradiol levels decline as the secretory activity of the senescent corpus luteum wanes. The big question is whether the headache is caused in part by the decline of one or both hormones. (The rates of decline of