Cognitive performance along the migraine cycle: a negative exploratory study

Maria Ana Quadros, Marta Granadeiro, Amparo Ruiz-Tagle, Carolina Maruta, Raquel Gil-Gouveia, Isabel Pavão Martins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Migraine patients frequently report cognitive difficulties in the proximity and during migraine attacks. We performed an exploratory comparison of executive functioning across the four stages of the migraine cycle. Consecutive patients with episodic migraine undertook cognitive tests for attention, processing speed, set-shifting, and inhibitory control. Performance was compared between patients in different migraine stages, controlling for attack frequency and prophylactic medication. One hundred forty-three patients (142 women, average age 36.2 ± 9.9 years) were included, 28 preictal (≤48 h before the attack), 21 ictal (during the attack), 18 postictal (≤24 h after attack), and 76 interictal. Test performance (age and literacy adjusted z-scores) was not significantly different across migraine phases, despite a tendency for a decline before the attack. This negative study shows that cognitive performance fluctuates as patients approach the attack. To control for individual variability, this comparison needs to be better characterized longitudinally with a within-patient design.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalCephalalgia Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cognition
  • Cycling
  • Migraine cycle
  • Premonitory


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