Neurophysiological testing has become a valuable tool for investigating brain excitability and nociceptive systems in headache disorders. Previous reviews have suggested that most neurophysiological tests have limited value for headache diagnosis, but a vast potential for exploring the pathophysiology of headaches, the central effects of certain pharmacological treatments and phenotype-genotype correlations. Many protocols, however, lack standardization. This meta-analytical review of neurophysiological methods in migraine was initiated by a task force within the EUROHEAD project (EU Strep LSHM-CT-2004-5044837-Workpackage 9). Most of the neurophysiological approaches that have been used in headache patients are reviewed, i.e. evoked potentials, nociception-specific blink reflex, single-fibre electromyography, neuroimaging methods (functional MRI, PET, and voxel-based morphometry) and the nitroglycerin attack-provoking test. For each of them, we summarize the results, analyse the methodological limitations and propose recommendations for improved methodology and standardization of research protocols. The first part is devoted to electrophysiological methods, the second to neuroimaging techniques and the NTG test.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology