Copycat Conditions: Stroke Mimics


October 5, 2011 9:39:48 AM PDT
The cause of migraines is still not fully understood. They may be caused by changes in the brainstem and interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway.

Chemical imbalances may also be the verdict, such as serotonin. Serotonin, aside from influencing one's mood, helps regulate pain in the nervous system. During a migraine, serotonin levels drop and the trigeminal nerve releases neuropeptides which causes the headache pain. (SOURCE:

MIGRAINE AURA: A migraine aura is the migraine that is often mistaken for a stroke. It causes temporary visual or sensory disturbances and may be caused by a chemical wave that passes through the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes visual signals.

CAUSES: There are numerous things that can trigger a migraine such as:

  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Foods- skipping meals, fasting, alcohol, aged cheeses, chocolate, aspartame, overuse of caffeine
  • Stress
  • Sensory stimuli- bright lights, unusual smells, loud noises
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Physical factors- intense physical exertion
  • Changes in climate or barometric pressure
  • Certain Medications

SUGGESTED TREATMENT: Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA) is a clot buster drug used to treat strokes that can be used to treat complicated migraines. TPA is a glycoprotein that directly activates the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin. The way it is used is by directly inserting it into the vein or sometimes directly in the artery at the first sign of stroke symptoms. It was first manufactured in 1983 by a recombinant DNA process and became commercially available in 1988. (SOURCE:

? For More Information, Contact:

Omar Montejo
Director, Media Relations

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