The Journal of Headache and Pain (2021-05-01)

Decline in attentional inhibition among migraine patients: an event‐related potential study using the Stroop task

  • Min Su,
  • Rongfei Wang,
  • Zhao Dong,
  • Dengfa Zhao,
  • Shengyuan Yu

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 1
pp. 1 – 9


Read online

Abstract Background As a disorder of brain dysfunction, migraine has been associated with cognitive decline. However, no consistent results with respect to the attention function in migraineurs have been found, and the relationship between attentional inhibition and migraine is also unclear. In this study, the attentional inhibition function was evaluated using event-related potentials (ERPs) while migraine patients and healthy controls were performing the color–word Stroop task. Methods In this study, 75 migraine patients and 41 age-, gender-, and education-matched healthy controls were enrolled. The Stroop task was performed, and both behavioral and ERP data were analyzed. Results As to the behavioral data, the migraine group had a longer reaction time compared to the control group, but no difference in Stroop effect was observed. With respect to ERP components, the amplitudes of both early and late medial frontal negativity (MFN) were decreased in the migraine group. Additionally, obvious differences in the early MFN and sustained potential (SP) amplitudes were found between patients with and without allodynia. Conclusions At the behavioral level, migraine patients exhibited decreased executive ability but no obvious decline in inhibition. By contrast, a decline in attentional inhibition during the migraine interictal phase was confirmed by the analysis of ERP components, mainly those associated with changes in the conflict-monitoring stage, independent of confounding factors such as age, education, medication and mood disorders. Migraine patients with allodynia exhibited some significant differences in early MFN and SP compared to those without, supporting the hypothesis that migraine chronification aggravates the decline in attentional inhibition.