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Janet Jackson's vestibular migraines

17th October 2008

Janet Jackson has been prompted to cancel several recent concert dates, due to a rare form of migraine.

Headache

In a statement, the star explained that she suffers from vestibular migraine, also known as migraine-associated vertigo.

Jackson's recent tour has experienced an unexpected hitch due to her condition, but the singer is now taking medication after a thorough medical examination.

Her "Rock Witchu" tour is now back on track, starting with a performance in Washington, DC.

Manager Kenneth Crear said Jackson was now feeling much better and was ready to hit the road again to finish the tour.

Vestibular migraines differ from other migraines in that it affects the part of the inner ear that controls balance, causing a sensation of dizziness.

According to Morris Maizels, a family practitioner with Kaiser Permanente, a mere feeling of dizziness does not indicate a migraine of this kind.

Anyone can have a migraine and feel dizzy, but a vestibular migraine includes feelings of nausea, fainting, hearing loss, abnormal eye movements, and weakness in the arms and legs.

Merle Diamond, co-director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago and director of the inpatient headache unit at Chicago's St. Joseph Hospital, said the usual environment of a rock concert, including flashing lights and dancing, could affect sufferers.

Experts now believe a neurological abnormality in the functioning of the back of the brain to be responsible for vestibular migraines, which are more difficult to treat.

No drug specifically treats vestibular migraines, but there are drugs that can treat vertigo and migraine separately.

Vestibular migraine patients can still get vertigo symptoms if they are only taking migraine drugs.

Experts estimate that only one or two in 1,000 migraine patients have vestibular migraines, which are usually diagnosed in the late teens or early adulthood.

It is not known whether Jackson's vestibular migraines are new.

Anyone over 40 experiencing a migraine for the first time should seek immediate medical attention.

 

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