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Painful Stimulation of the Temple Induces
Nausea, Headache and Extracranial Vasodilation in
Migraine Sufferers
PD Drummond and A Granston
Posted: February 2005  
Cephalalgia 2005;25:16-22

To determine whether painful stimulation of the temple would induce nausea, ice was applied to the temple for 30 seconds, three times at 4-minute intervals in 23 migraine sufferers and 22 age- and sex- matched controls. On one occasion, the ice was applied in the presence of residual motion sickness induced by optokinetic stimulation. On another occasion, the ice application was not preceded by optokinetic stimulation (the baseline condition). In the baseline condition, nausea had developed in migraine sufferers but not controls by the third application of ice. In the presence of residual motion sickness, each painful stimulus intensified nausea and headache in migraine sufferers whereas symptoms were minimal in controls. Changes in frontotemporal pulse amplitude were monitored with photoelectric pulse transducers. The extracranial blood vessels dilated in migraine sufferers but not controls before the first application of ice in the baseline condition, presumably due to anticipatory anxiety. In contrast, the ice application did not provoke extracranial vasodilation in either group after optokinetic stimulation. The findings show that susceptibility to nausea and stress-induced extracranial vascular hyper-reactivity are associated with the migraine predisposition. They also suggest that head pain might intensify gastrointestinal disturbances during attacks of migraine.