Phenotype of migraine headache and migraine aura of Richard Wagner

Anna Göbel, Carl H. Göbel, Hartmut Göbel*

*Corresponding author for this work


Conclusions: Richard Wagner's life and opus can help to better understand the burden and suffering caused by migraine with its severe effects on the individual, familial and social life, the culture and community.

Background: The headache phenotype and neurological symptoms of the German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883), whose music dramas count towards the most frequently performed operas across the world, are previously undocumented.

Methods: Richard Wagner's own descriptions of his headache symptoms in his original writings and letters are investigated, as well as the complete diary records of his second wife, Cosima Wagner.

Results: There are manifold indications that Richard Wagner suffered from a severe headache disorder, which fulfils most likely the diagnostic criteria of migraine without aura and migraine with aura of ICHD-3 beta.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1004-1011
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2014


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