Tfelt-Hansen PC, Koehler PJ
Headache 2011 05; 51 (5): 752-78
Pain research, and headache research in particular, during the 20th century, has generated an enormous volume of literature promulgating theories, questions, and temporary answers. This narrative review describes the most important events in the history of migraine research between 1910 and 2010. Based on the standard textbooks of headache: Wolff's Headache (1948 and 1963) and The Headaches (1993, 2000, and 2006) topics were selected for a historical review. Most notably these included: isolation and clinical introduction of ergotamine (1918); further establishment of vasodilation in migraine and the constrictive action of ergotamine (1938); identification of pain-sensitive structures in the head (1941); Lashley's description of spreading scotoma (1941); cortical spreading depression (CSD) of Leão (1944); serotonin and the introduction of methysergide (1959); spreading oligemia in migraine with aura (1981); oligemia in the wake of CSD in rats (19 82); neurogenic inflammation theory of migraine (1987); a new headache classification (1988); the discovery of sumatriptan (1988); migraine and calcitonin gene-related peptide (1990); the brainstem "migraine generator" and PET studies (1995); migraine as a channelopathy, including research from the genetic perspective (1996); and finally, meningeal sensitization, central sensitization, and allodynia (1996). Pathophysiological ideas have evolved within a limited number of paradigms, notably the vascular, neurogenic, neurotransmitter, and genetic/molecular biological paradigm. The application of various new technologies played an important role within these paradigms, in particular neurosurgical techniques, EEG, methods to measure cerebral blood flow, PET imaging, clinical epidemiological, genetic, and molecular biological methods, the latter putting migraine (at least hemiplegic migraine) within a completely new classification of diseases.