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What causes migraines?

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Migraine headaches are a symptom of an overall condition known as migraine. Doctors don’t know the exact causes of the headaches, although they seem to be related to changes in the brain as well as to genes that run in families. People can even inherit the triggers that give them migraine headaches, such as fatigue, bright lights, weather changes, and others.

For many years, scientists believed that migraines were caused by changes in blood flow in the brain. Many now think that they happen because of flaws in the brain passed down from parents.

From: Migraine Headaches WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: National Headache Foundation: "Migraine."

Stewart, W. February 1997. Annals of Neurology,

Daroff, R. Saunders, 2012. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice, 6th edition,

Medical Clinics of North America, March 2009.

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Lawrence C. Newman on May 23, 2018

SOURCES: National Headache Foundation: "Migraine."

Stewart, W. February 1997. Annals of Neurology,

Daroff, R. Saunders, 2012. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice, 6th edition,

Medical Clinics of North America, March 2009.

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Lawrence C. Newman on May 23, 2018

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How does a migraine start?

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