Both studies were summarised in Frontiers of Neurology and both involved one group of participants completing a battery of tasks when they had a tension-type headache and again when they had no headache. Another group (the control group) was headache free on both occasions. In the “no headache” condition, the participants had not reported a headache for 24 hours prior to the assessment.
In the first study, 12 participants (six with tension-type headache and six in the control group) completed a computerised battery measuring mood and aspects of cognition. In the second study, 22 participants (seven tension-type headaches, five after tension-type headaches and 10 people from the control group) completed paper-and-pencil mood and cognitive tasks.
In the first study, having a headache was associated with an increase in negative mood both before and after the tasks. Three performance tasks showed impairments when the participants had headaches: logical reasoning was slower and less accurate; retrieval from semantic memory was slower; and reaction times in the categorical search task were slower.
Results confirm impairment
According to Dr Elliot Shevel, medical director of The Headache Clinic: “The results confirmed the impairments in the logical reasoning and semantic processing tasks, and also showed that those with a tension-type headache had greater psychomotor slowing and were more easily distracted. Effects did not continue after the headache had gone.”
These findings can have an impact on the performance of students and workers. “Negative mood and impaired cognitive functioning can adversely affect the quality of work,” he says.
Article by Bizcommunity