Reduced sensory anticipation in migraine


Address reprint requests to: E.J.C.M. Mulder, Department of Biological Psychology, FPP, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1F-58, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail:


We examined differences between migraine patients and matched healthy controls in anticipatory processes preceding a warning stimulus and preceding a response stimulus during a forewarned choice reaction time task. We manipulated stimulus preceding negativity (SPN) by inserting full response information either at the instant of the warning stimulus (cue) or at the instant of the response stimulus. In contrast to control subjects, migraineurs with aura show low anticipation towards an informative cue and high anticipation towards a noninformative cue. Migraineurs without aura showed a cortical hypoactivation during motor preparation prior to the response stimulus. We propose a functional deficiency within frontal structures or the anterior cingulate cortex in migraine. This might explain the reduced anticipation, as well as the slow responses during selective attention that we previously reported in these patients.