Research by UCSF OHNS Closely Examines Migraine and the BPPV Phenotype

September 19, 2022
Jeffrey Sharon, MD

A recent study by researchers from UCSF Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (OHNS) examined the impact of migraine on the benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) phenotype, furthering the literature on the comorbidity.

Findings by the research team, led by senior author Jeffrey Sharon, MD, are shared in the article Examining Migraine as a Predictor of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo Onset, Severity, Recurrence and Associated Falls." Results suggest that "migraine, which has been shown to cause inner ear damage, predisposes individuals to developing BPPV earlier in life." The authors also found that migraine was associated with a higher rate of falls among patients with horizontal canal BPPV, which suggests that a history of migraines may impact the phenotype of BPPV.

The article was published in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science. Eric Kim, a student at the UCSF School of Medicine, is the first author on the paper, and Lauren Pasquesi, an audiologist at UCSF OHNS, is a co-author.

"While its exact mechanism remains unclear, the association of migraine with an earlier onset of BPPV suggests that the pathophysiology of migraine predisposes one to BPPV," concluded the authors. "… These connections are likely due to a shared element in their pathophysiology and warrant further investigation in basic and clinical studies."

BPPV is one of the most common causes of dizziness and vertigo and can cause debilitating episodes that interfere with daily living and can affect quality of life. It has an estimated lifetime prevalence of 2.4%, most commonly affects individuals in their 50s and 60s and is more common in females.

Read more about research and news at UCSF OHNS.