Effects of Trigeminal Nerve Dysfunction in Various Types of Headaches
Headaches are one of the most common ailments in modern society, leading to severe diminishing of general activities and they result in significant impact on the patient's quality of life. Blink reflex is an objective neurophysiological method for determining the status of the trigeminal system, facial nerve and the lateral part of medulla oblongata. The aim of this study was to examine the connection between trigeminal nerve dysfunction and various types of headaches using functional electrophysiological assessment of blink reflex tests in patients and controls. The sample comprised 60 subjects with headache attacks, 44 females, and 16 males). The control group consisted of 30 healthy subjects (19 females, and 11 males) who did not suffer from headaches. The age of subjects ranged from 20 years to 76 years with the mean of 42.81 years. Trigeminal nerve function was assessed by using blink reflex tests in patients suffering from headaches and in controls, applying the standard procedure described by Kimura et al. Pathological findings of blink reflex were observed in 58.3 % of patients suffering from headaches and in only 20 % of cases in the control group. The application of Yates’ χ2 test showed a significant correlation between pathological blink reflex and headache occurrence (χ2 = 10.354; P = 0.001). Normal blink reflex was found in 41.7 % of patients suffering from headaches and in 80 % of control group subjects. Females with pathological blink reflex have 4 times higher risk for headaches than controls (OR = 4.107; 95% CI = 1.036 - 17.565). Males with pathological blink reflex have a considerably higher risk for headaches, and it was 13 times higher than in controls (OR = 13.500; 95% CI = 1.555 - 153.646). There is a strong correlation between pathological blink reflex and the occurrence of headaches in both genders, indicating significant association of trigeminal nerve dysfunction with the occurrence of headaches. The use of blink reflex testing could be of help to detect patients with an increased risk for headaches.
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