Memory disturbances in migraine with and without aura: a strategy problem?


Francesco Le Pira MD, Istituto di Scienze Neurologiche, Università di Catania, Viale A. Doria 6, 95125 Catania, Italy. Tel. 39 095 25 6665, Fax 39 095 33 0943, e-mail Received 4 August 1999, accepted 5 July 2000


Cognitive defects in migraine have been reported by several authors. These findings however, are controversial. In this study we carried out an investigation on 14 patients with migraine with aura and 16 with migraine without aura according to the International Headache Society criteria. They were submitted to a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests. The patients were compared with a control group not significantly different as to age, sex and education. Migraine subjects showed impaired neuropsychological performances only on some cognitive tests. Both groups of patients did worse than the control group on visuo-spatial memory tasks, while only migraineurs without aura showed significantly impaired verbal memory performances. The memory defects, both on visuo-spatial and on verbal cognitive tasks, could depend on an impaired recall mechanism. These memory difficulties seem related to strategically and organizationally defective aspects of learning.