Neuroimaging and neuropsychological investigations have indicated that migraineurs exhibit frontal lobe-related cognitive impairment. We investigated whether orbitofrontal and dorsolateral functioning differed between individuals with episodic migraine (EM) and chronic migraine (CM), focusing on orbitofrontal dysfunction because it is implicated in migraine chronification and medication overuse headache (MOH) in migraineurs. This cross-sectional study recruited women with CM with/without MOH (CM + MOH, CM − MOH), EM, and control participants who were matched in terms of age and education. We conducted neuropsychological assessments of frontal lobe function via the Trail Making Test (TMT) A and B, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), and the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). We enrolled 36 CM (19 CM + MOH, 17 CM − MOH), 30 EM, and 30 control participants. The CM patients performed significantly (p
< 0.01) worse on the TMT A and B than the EM patients and the control participants. The WCST also revealed significant differences, with poorer performance in the CM patients versus the EM patients and the control participants. However, the net scores on the IGT did not significantly differ among the three groups. Our findings suggest that the CM patients exhibited frontal lobe dysfunction, and, particularly, dorsolateral dysfunction. However, we found no differences in frontal lobe function according to the presence or absence of MOH.
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