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Volume 16 Supplement 1

1st Joint ANIRCEF-SISC Congress

  • Oral presentation
  • Open Access

O024. Transcutaneous supraorbital nerve stimulation enhances somatosensory thalamic activity in migraine between attacks: a central mechanism of clinical efficacy?

  • 1Email author,
  • 2,
  • 1,
  • 3 and
  • 1
The Journal of Headache and Pain201516(Suppl 1):A160

Published: 28 September 2015

The Erratum to this article has been published in The Journal of Headache and Pain 2017 18:11


  • Migraine
  • Clinical Improvement
  • Nerve Stimulation
  • Central Mechanism
  • Prophylactic Treatment


In a recent randomized double-blind sham-controlled study the Cefaly®, a novel transcutaneous supraorbital electrostimulation device, has been successfully used as a prophylactic treatment for episodic migraine. The possible mechanisms of action through which the device is able to induce clinical improvement in migraine are not known. In the present study, we investigated whether Cefaly® may act centrally at the thalamocortical/cortical level.


To explore the central mechanisms of action of Cefaly®, we recorded the somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) before, and in the subsequent two times after one session of supraorbital stimulation lasting 20 min in 10 migraine without aura patients between attacks. We measured the N20-P25 amplitudes on the low-frequency-SSEP, and, after applying a band-pass filter (450-750 Hz), maximal peak-to-peak amplitudes of the pre-synaptic, reflecting thalamocortical activity, and post-synaptic, reflecting primary cortical activation, high-frequency oscillations (HFOs).


Pre-synaptic HFO amplitudes, reflecting somatosensory thalamocortical activity, significantly increased after the stimulation (from 0.035 V to 0.058 V, p < 0.01), whereas both the low-frequency N20 SSEP component and post-synaptic HFOs were unaffected.


Present data might support the hypothesis that Cefaly® acts centrally through increased thalamocortical activity induced by the neurostimulation. It is of obvious interest to verify whether these device-induced changes might persist in the long-term after 3-month daily preventive stimulation, and if they follow clinical improvement.

Written informed consent to publish was obtained from the patient(s).


Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Medico-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, “Sapienza” University of Rome Polo Pontino, Latina, Italy
Department of Neurophysiology of Vision and Neuro-ophthalmology, G.B. Bietti Foundation IRCCS, Rome, Italy
Don Carlo Gnocchi Onlus Foundation, Milan, Italy


© Di Lenola et al. 2015

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. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


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