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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

The Journal of Headache and Pain 1/2014

Cognitive processing of cluster headache patients: evidence from event-related potentials

The Journal of Headache and Pain > Ausgabe 1/2014
Rongfei Wang, Zhao Dong, Xiaoyan Chen, Ruozhuo Liu, Mingjie Zhang, Jinglong Wu, Shengyuan Yu
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1129-2377-15-66) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

MD RW, ZD, XC, MZ and LR carried out the studies. And RW drafted the manuscript. MD RW participated in the design of the study and performed the statistical analysis. Professor JW participated in the design of the study. Professor SY, the PI of this study, conceived of the study and participated in its design and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The peripheral and central origins of pain in cluster headache (CH) have been a matter of much debate. The development and application of functional imaging techniques have provided more evidence supporting the hypothesis that CH is not a disorder exclusively peripheral in origin, and in fact central regions might be more important. Event-related potentials confer advantages in the functional evaluation of the cortex, but few studies thus far have employed this method in cluster headache.


Seventeen cluster patients (15 males; mean age = 35.4 years) and 15 age-matched healthy participants (13 males; mean age = 34.6 years) were recruited. A visual oddball paradigm was employed to analyze target processing using event-related potentials. We investigated the P3/P3d components in the experiment.


P3/P3d amplitudes were decreased in CH patients (P3, 3.82 μV; P3d, 5.8 μV) compared with controls (P3, 7.28 μV; P3d, 8.95 μV), F(1,30) = 4.919, p < 0.05, η2 = 0.141 for P3 and F(1,30) = 8.514, p < 0.05, η2 = 0.221 for P3d, respectively). Moreover, the amplitudes of P3/P3d were no significantl difference in the side of pain as compared to contralateral one (p > 0.05).


These results provide evidence of dysfunction in the cognitive processing of CH patients, which may also contribute to the pathophysiology of CH.
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