Navigation Links
Brain Differences Seen in People With Migraines
Date:3/27/2013

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- People who suffer migraines may have certain structural differences in pain-related areas of the brain, a new study suggests.

Using MRI scans, researchers found that in specific brain regions related to pain processing, migraine sufferers showed a thinner and smaller cortex compared to headache-free adults. The cortex refers to the outer layer of the brain.

It's not clear what it all means. But the researchers suspect that certain aspects of brain development may make some people more vulnerable to developing migraines -- and that migraine attacks create further changes in the brain.

The surface area of the brain "increases dramatically" during fetal development, while the thickness of the cortex changes throughout life, explained senior researcher Dr. Massimo Filippi.

"We speculate that migraine patients might have a sort of cortical 'signature' -- abnormal cortical surface area -- which could make them more susceptible to pain and abnormal processing of painful stimuli," said Filippi, a professor of neurology at the University Vita-Salute's San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan.

Once migraines develop, they may alter the thickness of the brain's cortex, Filippi explained.

A neurologist who was not involved in the study said it "adds to the growing body of knowledge that patients with migraine have brains that not only function differently, but may actually look different structurally as well."

That's important because it helps "legitimize" migraine as a neurological disorder associated with "real structural changes in the brain," said Dr. Matthew Robbins, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Headache Center, in New York City.

Worldwide, an estimated 11 percent of people have had a migraine in the past year. Migraines typically cause intense, throbbing pain on one side of the head, along with sensitivity to light and sound, and sometimes nausea and vomiting.

About 30 percent of people with recurrent migraines also have sensory disturbances right before their head pain hits. Those disturbances, known as "aura," are usually visual -- like seeing flashes of light or blind spots.

No one knows precisely what causes migraines, but they do seem to involve abnormal brain activity and -- like the new study suggests -- abnormal brain structure.

The findings, published online March 26 in Radiology, come from MRI scans of 63 adults with migraines, and 18 migraine-free men and women.

Filippi's team found that the migraine brain was complicated. In some areas, the cortex was thicker, but in others -- including pain-processing areas -- the cortex was thinner, versus migraine-free adults.

And there were also differences among migraine sufferers. The exact location of the cortex abnormalities tended to differ between the half of patients who had aura and the half who did not.

According to the researchers, those structural differences might help explain why the two forms of migraine manifest differently.

Filippi said it's important to understand the structural brain changes linked to migraines because that could give insight into the cause of people's pain and other symptoms.

But whether any of this will help in managing migraines remains to be seen. According to Filippi, it's possible that doctors could eventually monitor structural changes in the brain's cortex to gauge migraine patients' response to treatment, for example.

Robbins, of Montefiore Headache Center, said that right now, it's "very hard to say" whether that will happen.

He pointed out that the study participants had one MRI scan, so it's not known what happens later on. "It is unclear if these changes in the brain are dynamic -- meaning, do they change over time?" Robbins said.

Filippi said his team is now following these patients to see whether the structural patterns in their brains are "stable" or tend to shift. They are also doing a similar study of children with migraines.

More information

Learn more about migraines from the American Headache Society.

SOURCES: Massimo Filippi, M.D., professor, neurology, University Vita-Salute's San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan; Matthew Robbins, M.D., assistant professor, neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and director, inpatient services, Montefiore Headache Center, New York City; March 26, 2013, Radiology, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Details of gene pathways suggest fine-tuning drugs for child brain tumors
2. Researchers form new nerve cells &#8211 directly in the brain
3. A New Study By CogniFit Finds That Individuals Can Triple Their Cognitive Benefits When Brain Training Continuously Over 6 Months
4. MRI shows brain abnormalities in migraine patients
5. UW researchers discover the brain origins of variation in pathological anxiety
6. Voices Against Brain Cancer Comments on Link Between Cell Phone Use and Brain Cancer
7. Brain Monitoring Market By Product & Application: Global Forecasts to 2017 - Market to reach $1.63 billion by 2017
8. Reduced Fine-Tuning of Brain May Hamper Face Recognition in Autism
9. Yakima Traumatic Injury Lawyer Mariano Morales Voices Support for Brain Injury Awareness Month
10. Low-cost cooling cure would avert brain damage in oxygen-starved babies
11. Do disruptions in brain communication have a role in autism?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Brain Differences Seen in People With Migraines
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... Modern Consulting Insurance & ... program. Partnering once again with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, ... area’s very own American Idol. With all proceeds benefitting local worthy causes, donations ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... The ... a three-year grant totaling $975,000, renewing its funding from the Health Resources and ... , This funding marks, the fourth time the HRSA administration has renewed its ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... 16, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational and ... excited to announce Andrew Ly as the winner of the LabRoots Summer Textbook scholarship, ... , Ly, who is in his third year at the University of California, Los ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... , ... With a new PD diagnosis every nine minutes, research is critical ... are awarded through a competitive application process and reviewed by APDA’s Scientific Advisory Board ... in all areas relevant to PD research. The SAB meets annually to review ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... August 16, 2017 , ... Melbourne’s ... year by the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) annual Liveability Index. , The Index ... , Since the index began in 2006, Melbourne has consistently come in the top ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/7/2017)... 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO ... as president, effective Aug. 7, 2017. ... pursue other interests and will serve as president emeritus during ... served us in multiple leadership roles since he joined Diplomat ... and has provided decisive, strategic leadership which continues to benefit ...
(Date:8/4/2017)... , Aug. 4, 2017 The search ... shortly after a physician/patient consult has long been the ... was a notable focus of the largest meeting of ... according to healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information.  The ... testing (POCT) offerings or related supplies and software were ...
(Date:8/2/2017)... , Aug. 2, 2017 ... Who,s Who as a Pinnacle Lifetime Professional in ... Key Account Manager at Turing Pharmaceuticals, AG. Her ... troubleshooting and relationship building.                ... more than 25 years of experience as a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: