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Cephalalgia. 2007 Dec;27(12):1368-77. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

Migraine aura and related phenomena: beyond scotomata and scintillations.

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Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Migraine affects the cortical physiology and may induce dysfunction both ictally and interictally. Although visual symptoms predominate during aura, other contiguous cortical areas related to less impressive symptoms are also impaired in migraine. Answers from 72.2% migraine with aura and 48.6% of migraine without aura patients on human faces and objects recognition, colour perception, proper names recalling and memory in general showed dysfunctions suggestive of prosopagnosia, dyschromatopsia, ideational apraxia, alien hand syndrome, proper name anomia or aphasia, varying in duration and severity. Symptoms frequently occurred in a successively building-up pattern fitting with the geographical distribution of the various cortical functions. When specifically inquired, migraineurs reveal less evident symptoms that are not usually considered during routine examination. Spreading depression most likely underlies the aura symptoms progression. Interictal involvement indicates that MWA and MWoA are not completely silent outside attacks, and that both subforms of migraine may share common mechanisms.

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