Altered speech with migraine attacks: A prospective, longitudinal study of episodic migraine without aura

Todd J. Schwedt, Jacob Peplinski, Pamela Garcia-Filion, Visar Berisha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Some individuals with migraine report the presence of speech changes during their migraine attacks. The goal of this study was to compare objective features of speech during the migraine pre-attack, the migraine attack, and during the interictal period. Methods: This was a prospective, longitudinal, observational study of adults with episodic migraine and healthy non-migraine controls. Participants provided speech samples three times per day using a speech elicitation tool included within a mobile app. Six complementary speech features that capture articulation and prosody were extracted from speech samples. Participants with migraine maintained a daily headache diary using the same app. A mixed effects model and t-tests were used to investigate differences in speech features between controls, the migraine pre-attack phase, the migraine attack, and the interictal period. Results: In total, 56,767 speech samples were collected, including 43,102 from 15 individuals with migraine and 13,665 from matched healthy controls. Significant group-level differences in speech features were identified between those with migraine and healthy controls and within the migraine group during the pre-attack vs. attack vs. interictal periods (all p <.05). Most consistently, speech changes occurred in the speaking rate, articulation rate and precision, and phonatory duration. Within-subject analysis revealed that seven of 15 individuals with migraine showed significant change in at least one speech feature when comparing the migraine attack vs. interictal phase and four showed similar changes when comparing the pre-attack vs. interictal phases. Conclusions: Changes in speech occurred in almost half of the individuals during migraine attacks. Once confirmed in subsequent studies, speech changes could be considered a feature of the migraine attack.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)722-731
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Migraine
  • analytics
  • headache
  • language
  • premonitory
  • speech

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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