Individuals with migraine experience sensory sensitivities, such as discomfort to light and sound, that are known to fluctuate during the migraine cycle. The current project will investigate the change in sensory sensitivities over the migraine cycle to ascertain if sensory symptoms can be used as biomarker for approaching migraine-onset. Having biomarkers for approaching migraine-onset allows for prophylactic treatments to be administered before the pain occurs, reducing the frequency and severity of migraine.
Two sensory modalities have been heavily implicated in migraine: vision and audition, to the degree that photophobia (sensitivity to light) and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound) are included in the diagnosis of migraine. Visual auras (disturbances in the visual field) are also frequently reported before and during a migraine, however, auditory auras are not. Very little is formally known about sensitivity to odor, touch, and motion. Therefore, we will focus our investigation on tracking changes in sensitivity in multiple sensory modalities to ascertain if all modalities are equally impacted in migraine or if they offer different but complementary information on migraine-onset, together generating a stronger biomarker.
Aim 1 will investigate sensory sensitivities over the migraine cycle using a migraine diary. Participants (migraine-only) will complete a daily diary on their sensory symptoms and any headaches experienced for one-month. We predict that sensory symptoms will be more severe within 24-hours of migraine-onset.
Aim 2 will focus on a more in-depth investigation into visual and auditory sensitivity in migraine compared to headache-free controls. During the one-month migraine diary duration, participants with migraine will complete a single lab session where electroencephalography (EEG) measures of visual and auditory processing will be collected alongside behavioral measures of discomfort. We will also recruit age- and gender-matched headache-free controls as a comparison group. We predict that migraine will show lower discomfort thresholds (greater sensitivity), and greater responses in the EEG (reflecting greater neural sensitivity) than headache-free controls. When these findings are integrated with the information on migraine cycle from the diary, we predict that the effects will be elevated within 24-hours prior to migraine-onset. Further analyses will ascertain if the visual and auditory responses are predictive of migraine-onset.
We will investigate changes in sensory sensitivity over the course of the migraine cycle to ascertain if sensory sensitivity is a useful biomarker for approaching migraine-onset. Finding a biomarker for migraine-onset will be useful for knowing when to administer prophylactic treatment to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
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