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WCN 2023 | Challenges facing trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia diagnosis

Dr Elizabeth Leroux, MD, FRCP, from University of Calgary, Canada, speaks about the difficulties facing clinicians in diagnosing trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs), especially in first time patients. Studies of cluster headaches, the most common TAC, have struggled to find effective predictive or diagnostic biomarkers with sufficient sensitivity and specificity for clinical use. While seeming to be a promising research avenue, headache associated abnormalities found in the hypothalamus have proved inadequate for diagnosis thus far. Imaging techniques can, however, be used to exclude other potential sources of attacks related to infections or tumours affecting the seventh cranial nerve. These can often be spotted using CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging to rule them out when trying to diagnose TACs in patients with new-onset trigeminal autonomic symptoms and no family history of the disease. This interview took place at the World Congress of Neurology (WCN) 2023 in Montreal, Canada.

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Elizabeth Leroux has engaged in consulting, advisory boards, and/or participated as a speaker in events organized by Allergan, Eli Lilly, LinPharma, Lundbeck, McKesson Canada, MedScape, Paladin, Teva, and Novartis.