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Neurophysiological correlates of abnormal auditory processing in episodic migraine during the interictal period

Posted on 2020-08-26 - 12:13
Background

The characteristics of the hypersensitivity to auditory stimuli during the interictal period in episodic migraine are discussed. The combined use of event-related potentials, time-frequency power and phase-synchronization can provide relevant information about the time-course of sensory-attentional processing in migraine and its underlying mechanisms.

Objective

The aim of this nested case-control study was to examine these processes in young, female, episodic migraine patients interictally and compare them to controls using an active auditory oddball task.

Method

We recorded, using 20 channels, the electrophysiological brain activity of 21 women with episodic migraine without aura and 21 healthy matched controls without family history of migraine, during a novelty oddball paradigm. We collected sociodemographic and clinical data as well as scores related to disability, quality of life, anxiety and depression. We calculated behavioural measures including reaction times, hit rates and false alarms. Spectral power and phase-synchronization of oscillatory activity as well as event-related potentials were obtained for standard stimuli. For target and novel stimuli, event-related potentials were acquired.

Results

There were no significant differences at the behavioural level. In migraine patients, we found an increased phase-synchronization at the theta frequency range and a higher N1 response to standard trials. No differences were observed in spectral power. No evidence for a lack of habituation in any of the measures was seen between migraine patients and controls. The Reorienting Negativity was reduced in migraine patients as compared to controls on novel but not on target trials.

Conclusion

Our findings suggest that migraine patients process stimuli as more salient, seem to allocate more of their attentional resources to their surrounding environment, and have less available resources to reorient attention back to the main task.

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