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Tinted specs offer real migraine relief, says fMRI study
Date:5/25/2011

Los Angeles, CA (May 26, 2011) Precision tinted lenses have been used widely to reduce visual perceptual distortions in poor readers, and are increasingly used for migraine sufferers, but until now the science behind these effects has been unclear. Now research published in the journal Cephalalgia, published by SAGE, uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for the first time to suggest a neurological basis for these visual remedies.

The new research shows how coloured glasses tuned to each migraine sufferer work by normalizing activity in the brain. The researchers saw specific abnormal brain activity (known as hyperactivation) when migraine sufferers saw intense patterns. The tinted lenses considerably reduced the effect.

Jie Huang along with colleagues from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, US, and the University of Essex, UK, homed in on specific visual stimuli known to trigger migraines. These patterns, high contrast stripes or 'gratings,' can give the illusion of shape, colour and movement. These not only trigger migraines but also may cause seizures in those with photosensitive epilepsy.

Before the brain imaging took place, participants were tested and prescribed precision ophthalmic tints (POTs) with an Intuitive Colorimeter. Previous studies have suggested that some 42% of migraine with aura sufferers saw their migraine frequency halved on days when they wore POTs. The researchers used the colorimeter to illuminate text with coloured light, manipulating hue and saturation at constant luminance. For each test participant this gave an optimal hue and saturation (chromaticity) of light that led to the greatest comfort, reducing perceptual distortion. The test subjects then viewed stressful striped patterns illuminated with their optimal coloured light settings to screen for efficacy. The researchers used these readings to generate both effective POTs for each migraine sufferer and also t
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Contact: Jayne Fairley
jayne.fairley@sagepub.co.uk
44-207-324-8719
SAGE Publications
Source:Eurekalert

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