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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Hemiplegic migraine

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What causes hemiplegic migraine?

A mutation in the gene CACNA1A, ATP1A2, or SCN1A can cause familial hemiplegic migraine (types FHM1, FHM2, and FHM3 respectively). Familial hemiplegic migraine is passed through families in an autosomal dominant fashion.[1]

De novo
in the ATP1A2 and CACNA1A have been discovered in a few cases of sporadic hemiplegic migraine. In general, mutations in CACNA1A, ATP1A2, or SCN1A seem to be more common in families with multiple affected members (large families), and in familial or sporadic cases with early onset disease.[2] 

The underlying cause in some families with familial hemiplegic migraine and in most cases of sporadic disease has yet to be identified.[2]

Last updated: 8/26/2013

What triggers hemiplegic migraine?

Minor head trauma, catheter angiography, exertion, and emotional stress have been reported by patients as triggers of hemiplegic migraine.[2]

Last updated: 8/26/2013

  1. Russell MB, Ducros A. Sporadic and familial hemiplegic migraine: pathophysiological mechanisms, clinical characteristics, diagnosis, and management. Lancet Neurol. May, 2011; Accessed 8/26/2013.
  2. Jen JC. Familial Hemiplegic Migraine. GeneReviews. September 2009; Accessed 8/26/2013.