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Cephalalgia. 2004 Nov;24(11):940-6.

The place of osmophobia and taste abnormalities in migraine classification: a tertiary care study of 1237 patients.

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  • 1Headache Center of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA 30342, USA.


This study evaluates osmophobia and taste abnormalities in relationship to sensitivity and specificity in the classification of migraine. Consecutive International Headache Society (IHS) classified patients (n = 1237) were evaluated. Symptoms were graded from 0 to 3. Osmophobia and taste abnormalities were tested for sensitivity and specificity in migraine diagnosis. The patients were 85.4% female and their mean age was 38.1 years. Of 673 patients 24.7% complained of osmophobia, and 24.6% of 505 complained of taste abnormalities. In the absence of nausea and vomiting the combinations of two symptoms gave the following sensitivity and specificity percentages, respectively: photophobia and phonophobia, 10.6 and 84.9; photophobia and osmophobia, 1.1 and 99.0; phonophobia and osmophobia, 1.1 and 98.6; photophobia and taste abnormality, 9.6 and 99.0; phonophobia and taste abnormality, 9.6 and 98.8; and osmophobia and taste abnormality, 4.2 and 99.4. Osmophobia and taste abnormalities were demonstrated to be very specific in diagnosing migraine IHS 1.1-1.6, but very insensitive.

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