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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Basilar migraine


Other Names for this Disease
  • Basilar artery migraine
  • Bickerstaff migraine
  • Brainstem migraine
  • Vertebrobasilar migraine
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Overview

Basilar migraine is a type of migraine headache with aura that is associated with bilateral (on both sides) pain at the back of the head. An aura is a group of symptoms that generally serve as a warning sign that a bad headache is coming and may include dizziness and vertigo, slurred speech, ataxia, tinnitus, visual changes, and loss of balance. Although basilar migraines can occur in men and women of all ages, they are most common in adolescent girls.[1][2] The exact underlying cause is not well understood. However, migraines are likely complex disorders that are influenced by multiple genes in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors.[3] In rare cases, the susceptibility to basilar migraines may be caused by a change (mutation) in the ATP1A2 gene or CACNA1A gene.[4][5] During episodes, affected people are typically treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antiemetic medications to help alleviate the symptoms.[2]
Last updated: 2/19/2015

References

  1. Rima M Dafer, MD, MPH, FAHA. Migraine Variants. Medscape Reference. March 2012; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1142731-overview#a1.
  2. David F Black, MD; Carrie Elizabeth Robertson, MD. Migraine with brainstem aura (basilar-type migraine). UpToDate. February 2015; Accessed 2/19/2015.
  3. Basilar-Type Migraine. American Headache Society. 2010; http://www.achenet.org/resources/basilartype_migraine/.
  4. Ambrosini A, D'Onofrio M, Grieco GS, Di Mambro A, Montagna G, Fortini D, Nicoletti F, Nappi G, Sances G, Schoenen J, Buzzi MG, Santorelli FM, Pierelli F. Familial basilar migraine associated with a new mutation in the ATP1A2 gene. Neurology. December 2005; 65(11):1826-1828.
  5. Robbins MS, Lipton RB, Laureta EC, Grosberg BM. CACNA1A nonsense mutation is associated with basilar-type migraine and episodic ataxia type 2. Headache. July 2009; 49(7):1042-1046.
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Basic Information

  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Basilar migraine. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Basilar artery migraine
  • Bickerstaff migraine
  • Brainstem migraine
  • Vertebrobasilar migraine
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.