An Observational Study of Interoceptive Awareness in Migraine
Migraine is typically characterised by a throbbing pain that intensifies sporadically. The pain is often debilitating, and often involves associated symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, visual distortion, photophobia (light sensitivity) and phonophobia (noise sensitivity). We hope that gaining a more complete understanding of the purpose and cause of migraine will lead to new treatment approaches in future.
This study is aiming to better understand the cause and purpose of migraine, by studying its relationship to a process called interoception.
Interoception is described as the perception of sensations from inside the body. Physical sensations include heartbeat, respiration, hunger and the autonomic (fight-or-flight) nervous system. Interoception also interacts with external sensations (such as hearing and vision) thought, emotion and psychology. This study will measure subjective and objective aspects of interoception, and its association with migraine symptoms.
This study will measure subjective and objective aspects of interoception, and its association with migraine symptoms. The aim is to establish whether there is a link between certain aspects of interoception and how often migraine attacks occur. If such links are found, it may lead to an improved understanding of the cause of migraine.
- Age 18 or over
- The ability to make and communicate an informed choice about whether to take part in the study
- The ability to sit still and comfortably in a comfortable chair for around 1hour
- Experience recurrent migraines
- Headache that is so persistent that you never, or only rarely, have days where you do not have some kind of headache.
- Currently taking continuous migraine preventative medication (this does not include reactive medication which is only taken when you feel a migraine about to start)
- The ongoing use of sedating medications, or certain other nerve-acting or antidepressant medications
- Any abnormality of brain structure (e.g. stroke, tumour), or other neurological disorder (e.g. multiple sclerosis or epilepsy)
- A current mental health condition of sufficient severity to prevent certain activities of everyday life.
What will I be asked to do?
The first stage is to complete a pre-screening questionnaire, which will help to determine whether you are eligible to take part. This will be shared with you by the researcher, via email, after you have applied to the opportunity.
If you are eligible to take part, then the main study involves one visit to the study centre in Newcastle University Medical School which will involve the following:
- Further discussion of the study, and signing of a consent form
- To complete a second, more detailed, questionnaire assessing the following:
- Body Perception
- How migraine affects your day to day life on a physical, emotional and social level
- General mood and wellbeing
- How you feel in, and respond to, uncertain situations
- An electroencephalography (EEG) session.
In this, a fabric cap is placed over your head, and a number of spots of gel placed in this (a similar consistency to hair gel, which will remain in your hair until washed out with water). This cap records the electrical signals your brain naturally generates. The most important things you need to do during the EEG session are to stay awake, keep your eyes open, and keep your head, face, neck and body in a relaxed state. Setup takes around 30 minutes, and then you will perform the following stages:
- 10 minutes of ‘resting state’, in which you sit relaxed and looking ahead
- 10 minutes of a heartbeat monitoring task. This will be broken up into short sections of around 30-60 seconds, and you simply need to try to sense your heartbeat, and count how many beats occur during that time
- 10 minutes of measuring the brain’s response to sounds. During this a series of beeps will be played through headphones.
When and where?
Institute of Neuroscience
Newcastle University Medical School
Newcastle upon Tyne,
This research will run from April - December 2022
Will I get anything for taking part?
£10 plus reimbursement of any travel expenses
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