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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Mar 2023 - 10 Mar 2023


Human Studies, Neurobiology


2023 Mar 03

Eur J Neurosci


Effect of temporal frequency on habituation in migraine.


Sharp A, Föcker J, O'Hare L


Individuals with migraine tend to experience discomfort when viewing flickering stimuli. It has been suggested that one of the characteristics of migraine is a lack of habituation to repetitive visual stimuli, although findings can be mixed. Previous work has typically used similar visual stimuli (chequerboard) and only one temporal frequency. This study systematically varied the spatial and temporal characteristics of the visual stimulus, using steady-state visual evoked potentials to assess the differences in amplitude between migraine and control group over consecutive blocks of stimulation. Twenty individuals with migraine and 18 control observers were asked to rate their visual discomfort after viewing sequences of flickering Gabor patches with a frequency of either 3Hz or 9Hz across three different spatial frequencies (low 0.5cpd; midrange 3cpd; high 12cpd). Compared to the control group, the migraine group showed a reduction in SSVEP responses with increased exposure, suggesting habituation processes are intact at 3Hz stimulation. However, at 9Hz stimulation, there was evidence of increased responses with increasing exposure in the migraine group in particular, which might suggest a build-up of the response over repetitive presentations. Visual discomfort varied with spatial frequency, for both 3Hz and 9Hz stimuli, the highest spatial frequencies were the least uncomfortable compared to the low and midrange spatial frequencies in both groups. This difference in SSVEP response behaviour, dependent on temporal frequency, is important to consider when researching the effects of repetitive visual stimulation in migraine and could give some indication of build-up of effects leading to aversion to visual stimuli.