Auditory Event-Related Potentials in the Interictal Phase of Migraine Indicate Alterations in Automatic Attention


Migraine has been characterized by interictal cortical hyperresponsivity. We compared event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to unattended tone pairs in migraineurs (interictal) versus non-headache controls, with particular interest in attention-related activity (i.e., the N1 component). Electroencephalograms were recorded from 11 interictal migraineurs and 14 headache-free controls while they watched a silent video. Pairs of 50-ms tones with 500-ms inter-tone intervals were presented with inter-pair intervals of 1 or 5 s. P1, N1, P2, and N2 components were analyzed. N1 peak amplitudes were larger in migraineurs than in controls, especially after the 5-s inter-pair interval. However, there was no difference between groups in the attenuation of the N1 (i.e., no interaction). P2 peak amplitudes were larger in migraineurs, but only after the first tone in the pair. The three migraineurs without aura had larger N1s than the eight with aura. Our findings are consistent with interictal hyperresponsivity of cortical generators of these ERPs in migraineurs. However, areas that inhibit the responses with stimulus repetition do not seem to be affected.

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Applied Psychophysiology Biofeedback