Emotional memory and migraine: effects of amitriptyline and sex related difference.Behav Brain Res. 2008 May 16; 189(1):220-5.BB
Many studies suggest that emotional arousal improves memory storage. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of emotional content on explicit memory in untreated cephalalgic patients and in migraineurs treated with the antidepressant amitriptyline. We utilized an adaptation of two versions of the same story, with different arousing properties (neutral or emotional), which have been already employed in experiments involving the enhancing effects of emotions on memory retention. Subjects of the present study were healthy subjects and cephalalgic patients, suffering from migraine headache, which included untreated migraineurs and migraineurs treated with the antidepressant amitriptyline. The findings of our experiments suggest that chronic migraine is related to memory impairment. Taking into account that migraine is associated with major depression, in the present research the effect of the antidepressant amitriptyline was also evaluated. Our results showed that amitriptyline has an impairment effect on memory. In fact, the untreated migraineurs, compared to treated, recalled the most emotional phase of the arousal story significantly better. Then, our data suggest that amitriptyline prevents the enhancing effects of emotional content on memory processes. Moreover, in agreement with our previous data, this study suggests the existence of gender differences in the processing of emotional stimuli and underscores the importance of sex on emotional memory mechanisms.