• Question: Sydney Why do some people who suffer from migraines have brain waves which appear like someone with epilepsy (Having a seizure) .

    Asked by Sydney to Vassilis, Tirso, Matthew, Jane, Dawn, Alexandra on 15 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Vassilis Sideropoulos

      Vassilis Sideropoulos answered on 15 Mar 2019:


      Migraine and epilepsy are highly comorbid, people who suffer with one have higher chances of experiencing the other. They even have same clinical symptoms with regard to visual and other sensory disturbances, pain, and alterations of consciousness. Therefore, you expect to get very similar EEG data (brain waves).

      However, there are differences between epilepsy and migraine. During epileptic seizures there are chemical changes that occur in nerve cells which result to either too much or too little activity in the brain and that impacts on how a person acts or what they do for a short period. On the other hand, migraine attacks have different changes in behaviour, specifically visual disturbances, problems sleeping and appetite loss. Therefore, it’s evidence that the behavioural differences between them too are a lot. But it is important to remember that they are highly comorbid and this is why often EEG data are confusing when you look at migraines attacks and epileptic seizures.

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