Diurnal rhythm of plasma cortisol, of psychological state, and of pain was measured for two days in 25 migraine patients and eight control subjects. Fourteen of the migraine patients and none of the controls displayed either consistently high plasma cortisol or an occasional aberrant peak. Abnormal psychological findings, particularly depression, were found in the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory only in migraine patients with abnormal plasma cortisol levels. Neither psychological abnormality nor pain seemed the single cause of elevation of plasma cortisol.
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