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Cephalalgia. 1999 Nov;19(9):791-6.

Headache in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

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Franklin Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Greenfield, MA, USA.



Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a complex hereditary connective tissue disorder with neurologic manifestations that include cerebrovascular disorders and chronic pain. The clinical data collected on 18 patients with EDS and chronic headaches is reported.


Clinical history, neurologic examination, computerized tomography of the head, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, and electroencephalogram (EEG). Headaches were classified according to the International Headache Society and the patients were followed by the author for a minimum of 2 years.


Four patients had migraine with aura, four had migraine without aura, four had tension headaches, four had a combination of migraine and tension headaches, and two had post-traumatic headaches. Nine patients exhibited blepharoclonus but none had history of seizures and their EEGs were normal, ruling out eye closure epilepsy. Although one patient had a small right frontal angioma, a second had Arnold Chiari malformation type I, and a third had an old stroke, headaches did not clinically correlate with their central nervous system (CNS) lesions.


Chronic recurrent headaches may constitute the neurologic presentation of EDS in the absence of structural, congenital, or acquired CNS lesions that correlate with their symptoms. Individuals with EDS may be prone to migraine due to an inherent disorder of cerebrovascular reactivity or cortical excitability. Additional studies are needed to elucidate the pathogenesis of headaches in EDS.

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