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J Headache Pain. 2009 Dec;10(6):423-9. doi: 10.1007/s10194-009-0150-2. Epub 2009 Sep 10.

Pain perception and laser evoked potentials during menstrual cycle in migraine.

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Neurophysiopathology of Pain Unit, Neurological and Psychiatric Sciences Department, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.


The association between estrogens "withdrawal" and attacks of migraine without aura is well-known. The aim of the study was to examine the features of laser evoked potentials (LEPs), including habituation, in women suffering from migraine without aura versus healthy controls, during the pre-menstrual and late luteal phases. Nine migraine without aura and 10 non-migraine healthy women, were evaluated during the pre-menstrual phase and late luteal phase. The LEPs were recorded during the inter-critical phase. The right supraorbital zone and the dorsum of the right hand were stimulated. Three consecutive series of 20 laser stimuli were obtained for each stimulation site. Laser pain perception was rated by a 0-100 VAS after each stimulation series. Migraine patients exhibited increased LEPs amplitude and reduced habituation compared to normal subjects. Laser-pain perception was increased during the pre-menstrual phase in both patients and controls. Migraine patients and controls showed increased P2 and N2-P2 amplitude in the pre-menstrual phase, on both stimulation sites. During the pre-menstrual phase the N2-P2 habituation appeared to be reduced in both migraine and healthy women. The estrogen withdrawal occurring during the menstrual cycle may favor reduced habituation of nociceptive cortex, which may facilitate pain symptoms and migraine in predisposed women.

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