Tourette syndrome (TS) is recognized as one of the most common childhood movement disorders, characterized by motor and phonic tics often associated with neurobehavioral comorbidities, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neurotransmitter dysregulation, particularly involving the serotonin system, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of TS, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and migraine headache.
To investigate the possible association between migraine headache and TS and to report preliminary findings of family history of migraine headache in patients with TS.
Subjects diagnosed as having TS at the Baylor College of Medicine Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic were administered a migraine headache questionnaire based on the migraine criteria established by the Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society.
Of 100 patients with TS, 25 (25.0%) satisfied the diagnostic criteria for migraine headache, significantly greater than the estimated 10% to 13% in the general adult population (P<.001) and the estimated 2% to 10% in the general pediatric population (P<.04). There was no significant (P = .44) difference in the presence of comorbid obsessive-compulsive traits in the TS migraine and TS nonmigraine sample groups. Furthermore, our TS group with migraines was not more likely to have features of obsessive-compulsive disorder compared with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Of patients with TS, 56.0% reported a family history of migraines, 44.0% of whom were first-degree relatives.
The frequency of migraine headache in a clinic sample of TS subjects was nearly 4-fold more than the frequency of migraines reported in the general population. Contrary to previous reports, the co-occurrence of migraines and TS in our sample group may possibly be attributed to another TS comorbidity, other than obsessive-compulsive traits.