A pilot exploratory study comparing the King-Devick test (KDT) during and between migraine attacks

Chia Chun Chiang, Amaal J. Starling, Matthew R. Buras, Michael A. Golafshar, Juliana H. VanderPluym

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The King-Devick test is a timed rapid number naming task that involves complex cerebral functions. The objective of this pilot exploratory study is to determine whether there is a difference in the King-Devick test during a migraine attack compared to the interictal phase. Methods: We evaluated 29 adult subjects with migraine with aura or migraine without aura. For each participant, we performed King-Devick tests during migraine attacks and interictal phases. Subjects served as their own controls. Results: The King-Devick test was slower during the migraine attack compared to the interictal baseline (median 4.6 sec slower, p < 0.001). The slowing of the King-Devick test during migraine attack was more prominent in those with migraine with aura compared to subjects with migraine without aura (median 7.5 vs. 2.8 sec, p = 0.028). Conclusions: This exploratory, observational study shows changes in the King-Devick test during migraine compared to the interictal phase. Future studies are required to determine if the King-Devick test may be used as a rapid and simple tool to objectively characterize migraine-associated disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • King-Devick test
  • migraine attack
  • migraine-related disability
  • rapid eye movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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