Navigation Links
Migraine sufferers: More difficulty tuning out visual stimuli?

Rockville, MD When people feel the onset of a migraine headache, they may head to a dark, quiet room to rest. This instinct may be sound: A new study suggests that even without the headache, migraine sufferers may process visual cues better in an environment with few visual distractions.

In a study published in the April issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science ("Visual Noise Selectively Degrades Vision in Migraine"), researchers from Scotland's Glasgow Caledonian University asked migraine sufferers to pick out a small disk of light amid visual noise, an effect similar to the black-and-white snow on an off-air television. Without the visual noise, people prone to migraine could identify the light disk about as well as the control group. When the noise was added, migraine sufferers ("migraineurs") performed significantly worse.

"Our visual environment is generally very busy and full of objects, many of which are important at some times but not at others. Normally, we can attend effortlessly to those items of interest and often do not even notice others," said lead researcher Doreen Wagner, Diplom-Ingenieur (FH) of Optometry, PhD student in Vision Science. "Migraineurs may be at a disadvantage when searching for details, especially in cluttered environments."

About a third of migraine sufferers experience neurological disturbances before a headache begins. These auras are frequently visual and can appear as shimmering lights or zig-zag patterns that move across the field of vision. The study showed that migraine sufferers with auras were the most adversely affected by the addition of visual noise.

Wagner said a current theory about migraines is that nerve cells in the brain of migraineurs are excitable and when exposed to certain triggers, the increased excitability may cause whole clusters of nerve cells to become overactive, similar to a spasm, and bring on the headache. In this study, "We believe that the noise on the display overexcites the nerve cells in the brain of the migraineurs. This in turn makes it harder for a migraineur to see the disk."

Although Wagner noted that further research should examine the connections between the severity and frequency of the attacks and visual problems, she said the results may have practical applications for migraine sufferers today.

"It might be helpful to avoid such 'noisy' environments which may impair their performance, scenes overloaded with visual distracters, for example computer screens and learning tools which have a lot of visual information on them." she said.


Contact: Jo Olson
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

Related biology news :

1. Concentrating on different aspects of pain leads to breakthrough in migraine genetics
2. Treating chronic pain, migraine & muscle spasticity through inhibition of neurotransmitter glutamate
3. Overuse of narcotics and barbiturates may make migraine worse
4. OptiNoses novel intranasal sumatriptan product highly effective in treating migraines
5. MIT: Why we have difficulty recognizing faces in photo negatives
6. Fine-tuning lasers to destroy blood-borne diseases like AIDS
7. Tuning in on cellular communication in the fruit fly
8. Brains timing linked with timescales of the natural visual world
9. The human brain: Detective of auditory and visual change
10. Researchers visualize complex pigment mixtures in living cells
11. Visual technology enables brain to learn in new ways
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 09, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Law Enforcement ... offering. --> ) has ... Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Calif. , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. ... new report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned ... the Department of Health and Human Services guidance for ... in 2010. --> ... it also has the potential to pose unique biosecurity ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015 Today, LifeBEAM , a ... 2XU, a global leader in technical performance sports ... with advanced bio-sensing technology. The hat will allow ... key biometrics to improve overall training performance. As ... will bring together the most advanced technology, extensive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... England , November 26, 2015 ... innovative medical device company specializing in imaging technologies, announced today ... European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 European Union ... carry out a large-scale clinical trial in breast cancer. ... (Logo: , --> --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced  today that its ... (Rights Plan) in an effort to preserve the value ... 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). ... its NOLs could be substantially limited if the Company ... of the Code. In general, an ownership change occurs ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in ... pave the way for more effective treatment for one of ...   --> --> Gum ... in cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria ... been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, ... Kevin Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, ... Healthcare Conference in New York . ... to visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior to ... A replay of the presentation will be available on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: