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The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

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Open Access

EHMTI-0238. Why narcissus was probably no migraineur: a study of visually induced analgesia

  • S Sava1,
  • R Baschi1,
  • E Vecchio1,
  • V De Pasqua1,
  • J Schoenen1 and
  • D Magis1
The Journal of Headache and Pain201415(Suppl 1):E15

Published: 18 September 2014


MigraineHealthy VolunteerVisual Analogue ScalePain PerceptionVisual Area


Visually induced analgesia (VIA) corresponds to the decrease of pain perception when gazing at the stimulated body part, due to an interplay between the brain's pain and posterior visual networks. However VIA has never been studied in trigeminal areas. We know that migraine is associated with abnormal connectivity in visual areas.


To study of trigeminal (face) and peripheral (wrist) VIA in healthy volunteers (HV) and migraine without aura patients (MO).


Contact Heat Evoked Potentials (CHEPs), or thermonociceptive potentials, were obtained by heat stimulation (53°C) of the right forehead in 10 HS and 12 MO in interictal phase, able or not to gaze at their stimulated face reflected by a mirror. CHEPs were also obtained on the right wrist using the same protocol.


In HV, gazing at the face reflection decreased significantly CHEPs latency (N2) and amplitude (P1-N2 and N2-P2), and increased P1-N2 habituation. Conversely, the mirror considerably decreased trigeminal CHEPs habituation in MO. Pain perception assessed by visual analogue scale was not modified either by the mirror, or between groups. The mirror decreased CHEPs parameters in the wrist numerically but not significantly in both groups.


The visually induced analgesia phenomenon using a mirror is demonstrated by a decrease of thermonociceptive potentials in HV in trigeminal and peripheral areas. In interictal migraineurs, forehead VIA is significantly impaired and gazing at the mirror strongly decreases the trigeminal habituation to thermal nociceptive stimulation. This study suggests a connectivity dysfunction between visual and trigeminal pain networks.

No conflict of interest.

Authors’ Affiliations

University Department of Neurology, Headache Research Unit, Liege, Belgium


© Sava et al; licensee Springer. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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