What does a virtual roller coaster ride tell us about migraines?  - ScienceDaily

According to a new study published in the July 7, 2021 online edition of Neurology, people who get migraine headaches reported more dizziness and motion sickness than people who don’t get migraines. the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The researchers also found that people who get migraines had more nerve cell activity in certain areas of the brain and less activity in other areas during the virtual roller coaster ride. The researchers said this abnormal processing of visual movement stimuli in the brain is linked to migraine disability and an increased susceptibility to motion sickness.

“Millions of people regularly suffer from painful and debilitating migraine headaches that can affect their quality of life,” said study author Arne May, MD, PhD, of the University of Hamburg in Germany. “People with migraines often complain of dizziness, balance problems and an incorrect perception of the position of their body in space during migraines. By simulating a virtual roller coaster ride, our study found that some of these problems are not only exacerbated in people with migraines, but are also linked to changes in different areas of the brain. By identifying and pinpointing these changes, our research could lead to a better understanding of migraines, which in turn could lead to the development of better treatments. “

The study included 20 people with migraines who were compared to 20 people without migraines. The average age of the participants was 30 and more than 80% were women. People with migraines had an average of four migraines a month.

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to take brain scans of each participant while they watched videos to experience the virtual roller coaster rides. No participant suffered a migraine during the virtual journeys. After the virtual trips, the participants were asked about their perceived level of dizziness, motion sickness and other symptoms.

Researchers found that 65% of people with migraines experienced dizziness compared to 30% of people without migraines. On a motion sickness questionnaire that rated symptom intensity on a scale of 1-180, those with migraines had an average score of 47 compared to an average score of 24 for people without migraines. People with migraines also had symptoms longer, averaging 1 minute and 19 seconds compared to an average of 27 seconds. Her symptoms were also more intense.

The brain scans enabled the researchers to identify changes in nerve cell activity based on blood flow to specific areas of the brain. People with migraines had increased activity in five areas of the brain, including two areas in the occipital gyrus, the visual processing area of ​​the brain, and decreased activity in two other areas, including the middle frontal gyrus. These brain changes correlated with migraine disability and motion sickness scores.

“Another area of ​​the brain that we found high levels of nerve cell activity in people with migraines was in the pontine nuclei, which help regulate movement and other motor activities,” May said. “This increased activity could be related to an abnormal one Transmission of visual, auditory and sensory information in the brain are related. Future research should now examine larger groups of people with migraines to see if our results can be confirmed. “

The study was funded by the German Research Foundation.

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Materials provided by American Academy of Neurology. Note: The content can be edited in terms of style and length.