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Marc S. Tibber, Maria G. Kelly, Ashok Jansari, Steven C. Dakin, Alex J. Shepherd; An Inability to Exclude Visual Noise in Migraine. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(4):2539-2546. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-13877.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
People with migraine are relatively poor at judging the direction of motion of coherently moving signal dots when interspersed with noise dots drifting in random directions, a task known as motion coherence. Although this has been taken as evidence of impoverished global pooling of motion signals, it could also arise from unreliable coding of local direction (of each dot), or an inability to segment signal from noise (noise-exclusion). The aim of this study was to determine how these putative limits contribute to impoverished motion processing in migraine.
Twenty-two participants with migraine (mean age, 34.7 ± 8.3 years; 16 female) and 22 age- and sex-matched controls (mean age, 34.4 ± 6.2 years) performed a motion-coherence task and a motion-equivalent noise task, the latter quantifying local and global limits on motion processing. In addition, participants were tested on analogous equivalent noise paradigms involving judgments of orientation and size, so that the specificity of any findings (to visual dimension) could be ascertained.
Participants with migraine exhibited higher motion-coherence thresholds than controls (P = 0.01, independent t-test). However, this difference could not be attributed to deficits in either local or global processing since they performed normally on all equivalent noise tasks (P > 0.05, multivariate ANOVA).
These findings indicate that motion perception in the participants with migraine was limited by an inability to exclude visual noise. We suggest that this is a defining characteristic of visual dysfunction in migraine, a theory that has the potential to integrate a wide range of findings in the literature.
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