Resources, Symptoms

Migraine’s Visual Aura & Hallucinations on the New York Times Migraine Blog

The deep explorations of visual aura and hallucinations in the two latest entries on the New York Times migraine blog provide education far beyond what most migraineurs encounter; including one who writes about headache disorders and migraines nearly every day (me!). Check out the following posts to expand your knowledge.

Acclaimed writer and neurologist and migraineur Oliver Sacks explains the neurophysiology of visual auras and describes the patterns, or “geometric hallucinations,” some see during an aura. His intricate depiction is a fascinating eye-opener for those without aura and excellent information for those with it.

Lifting, Lights and Little People
Siri Hustvedt, author and migraineur, wrote of the hallucinations she has had with migraine episodes.

It is comforting to think that visual perception is a matter of taking in what’s out there, that a clear line exists between “seeing things” and the everyday experience of looking. In fact, this is not how normal vision works. Our minds are not passive containers of external reality or experience. Evidence suggests that what we see is a combination of sensory information coming in from the outside, which has been dynamically translated or decoded in our brains through both our expectations of what it is we are looking at and our human ability to create coherent images. We don’t just digest the world; we make it.

You can hear more from New York Times migraine bloggers Siri Hustvedt and Paula Kamen on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Headache specialist and founder of the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute Joel Saper weighed in and responded to callers’ questions. Congratulations to Migraine Blog, Migraine Chick and Somebody Heal Me for being mentioned on NPR’s website.

4 thoughts on “Migraine’s Visual Aura & Hallucinations on the New York Times Migraine Blog”

  1. Beta blockers are ok but have not stopped my migraines. I have heard that migraines with aura are a sign of the heart pfo / asd otherwise known as hole in the heart. Only eay to know is get a bubble echo cardiogram. Aurora cardiology in colorado dr michael wahl has a great article on this if you care to read it google. Further I have also read reference to alice in wonderland storyline is in reference to experience of migraines. Good luck

  2. I have migraines with aura on a daily basis also, sometimes with a migraine and sometimes just with aura. Not trying to sound dramatic, but it is honestly ruining my life. I get so dizzy and incredibly disoriented, I can’t remember things, images drag across my field of vision when I turn my head. It’s getting unbearable. I just wanted to ask if anyone has tried any of the medications some say can help, like beta blockers?

  3. I have been getting migraine Aura’s on a daily basis, i can deal with the head ache, but cant deal with the visual disturbances…any suggestions of anyone experiencing this?? please help!

  4. Man oh man can I talk about visual abnormalities. When my basilar-type migraines were really bad, I would often see things in distorted shapes and sizes. I would absolutely REFUSE to step over items on the floor such as a dropped sock or a garden hose. While my rational brain told me, Hey, Bobblehead, it is just a hose, my emotional brain would take input from my eyes saying HEY!! You are stepping over the GRAND CANYON. It drove Mrs. Bobblehead nuts.

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