The vestibulo-collic reflex is abnormal in migraine

M. Allena, D. Magis, V. De Pasqua, J. Schoenen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interictal evoked central nervous system responses are characterized in migraineurs by a deficit of habituation, at both cortical and subcortical levels. The click-evoked vestibulo-collic reflex (VCR) allows the assessment of otolith function and an oligosynaptic pathway linking receptors in the saccular macula to motoneurons of neck muscles. Three blocks of 75 averaged responses to monaural 95-dB normal hearing level 3-Hz clicks were recorded over the contracted ipsilateral sternocleidomastoid muscle in 25 migraineurs between attacks and 20 healthy subjects, without vestibular symptoms. Amplitudes, raw and corrected for baseline electromyography, were significantly smaller in migraine patients. Whereas in healthy volunteers the VCR habituated during stimulus repetition (-4.96% ± 14.3), potentiation was found in migraineurs (4.34% ± 15.3; P = 0.04). The combination with a reduced mean amplitude does not favour vestibular hyperexcitability as an explanation for the habituation deficit in migraine, but rather an abnormal processing of repeated stimuli in the reflex circuit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1155
Number of pages6
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


  • Habituation
  • Migraine
  • Vertigo
  • Vestibular evoked myogenic potential
  • Vestibulo-collic reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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