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Migraine Aura: A Complicated or Complex Migraine

By HERWriter
 
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Headache related image Photo: Getty Images

On the evening of the 2011 Grammy Awards, national concern swelled for Los Angeles television reporter Serene Branson when she slurred her words during the live broadcast. Many medical experts thought her slurred language was the result of a stroke on air.

However, Dr. Neil Martin, the chief of neurosurgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, explained how Branson actually suffered from a "complex or complicated migraine."

Martin explained how this type of migraine can mimic certain symptoms of a stroke such as slurred speech, weakness and loss of vision. However, unlike with strokes, the effects of complex migraines are not long term.

In an interview on "The Early Show," Branson stated she was scared and confused. "I knew something wasn't right as soon as I opened my mouth," Branson said. "I wanted to say, 'Lady Antebellum swept the Grammys.' And I could think of the words but I could not get them coming out properly."

The National Headache Foundation stated the term complicated migraine is no longer used. However, the term refers to prolonged migraine aura symptoms.

The Los Angeles Times stated that migraine aura typically includes three categories of symptoms. These categories include visual, language and sensory.

Classic visual symptoms of aura are having blurred or distorted vision. Sometimes patients see sparkling lights and zigzag lines in their field of vision. Dysphasic language dysfunction or language dysfunction can also occur. The sensory symptoms of migraine aura include numbness and tingling in the face and hands.

Other symptoms of migraine aura include:

• Numbness on one side of the body
• Patients may lose consciousness and even pass out
• Loss of vision
• Weakness
• Difficulty uttering words
• Headache
• Limbs become heavy
• Hands and feet become cold
• Nose becomes congested
• Dull aching pain in one particular part or both sides of the head
• Family history of migraines

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, more than 27 million women are affected by migraines. But in the U.S., more than 23 million people suffer from migraine aura conditions.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I WAS JUST Told BY MY NEUROLOGIST THAT I HAVE THIS AND FOR YEARS WAS BEING TREATED FOR STROKES AND HER TO FIND OUT IT IS Migraine aura with comlicated mirgraine .I have been missed diagnosed for 26 years and was on medication i didn't even no thank god i finally went to Universty of Michigan to the NEUROLOGIST CENTER AND THEY WAS THE ONLY ONE IN 26 REALLY FOUND OUT AND HAVE STARTED ME ON ALL THE RIGHT MEDS AND TOCK ME OFF THE WRONG ONES AND ARE HOPING THAT THE NEW MEDS WORK AND I CAN FINALLY START FEELING BETTER I HAVE BEEN HAVING ANYWHERE FROM 4 TO 5 HEADACHES A DAY FOR 20 YEARS AND THE LAST YEAR I STARTED PASSING OUT AND LOST MY EYE SIGHT TWICE I WAS SO AFRAID IT WAS NOT GOING TO COME BACK I HOPE MY STORY HELPS SOMEONE GET THE RIGHT TREAMENT AND DON"T SUFFER LIKE I DO

July 10, 2015 - 9:49pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Thank you for help to spread the word on complex or complicated migraines. I have suffered from them for over 5 years, and a lot of people, including medical professionals, simply do not understand their complexity and/or they try to treat them like "regular" migraines. They forget that in some cases we are going around for weeks trying to act normally and all the while dealing with stroke-like symptoms going on while we work, deal with family issues, etc. And/or, they think because nothing is showing up in their tests that we are either a nut-case, looking for freebie drug handouts, or suffering from Munchausen. Personally, I would recommend that anyone with this condition see a neurologist. They are the only ones who seem to really get-it, as far as I'm concerned.

August 5, 2012 - 7:35am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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