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From Bedford, New Hampshire, USA:

My son started manifesting migraine-like episodes (extremely rapid onset severe headaches accompanied with excessive vomiting) around age two which would appear at intervals from eight weeks to six months apart and would last from 8 to 24 hours. Symptoms were classic migraine (extreme pain, noise/light intolerance) with continuous bouts of vomiting. We had a full neurological workup done and found no evidence of any seizure/brain disorder that would be causing this. There were no specific foods or environmental triggers that we were able to uncover. The only link we could find on the environmental side was that the episodes were more likely to occur during times of high stress/activity coupled with low food intake. What was eaten didn't matter, just the amount. However, even these conditions were not always present when he would have an attack.

Then my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, about a year and a half ago, and since then has not had any migraines. In hindsight, I truly believe that these episodes were somehow linked to hypoglycemia or maybe even hyperglycemic bouts (from the increase in blood glucoses from the stress related hormones). My son will occasionally get a mild headache when his blood glucoses go high (over 300 mg/dl [16.7 mmol/L], which happens very infrequently) or if he's lower than 60 mg/dl [3.3 mmol/L], but nothing like the episodes before his diagnosis. His A1cs have all been in the low 7% range (normal upper limit for our lab is 6.5%). Is there any anecdotal or scientific evidence that children who suffer from these migraine-like episodes are more prone to type 1 or other insulin related disorders?


I did a quick computer search in PubMed, which is the archive of the National Library Of Medicine over the last 30 years and the only link between autoimmunity and migraine was in a single case with a retinal artery thrombosis and no other clinical evidence of a specific autoimmune disorder. There was no link either to hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia.

Diabetic children of course may get severe headaches though as a result of hypoglycemia.


Original posting 11 Apr 2002
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention


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