Brain differences found in people with migraine

Nov 19, 2007

People with migraines have differences in an area of the brain that helps process sensory information, including pain, according to a study published in the November 20, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study found that part of the cortex area of the brain is thicker in people with migraine than in people who do not have the neurological disorder.

Comparing 24 people with migraine to 12 people without migraine, the study found that the somatosensory cortex area of the brain was an average of 21 percent thicker in those with migraine.

“Repeated migraine attacks may lead to, or be the result of, these structural changes in the brain,” said study author Nouchine Hadjikhani, MD, of The Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “Most of these people had been suffering from migraines since childhood, so the long-term overstimulation of the sensory fields in the cortex could explain these changes. It’s also possible that people who develop migraines are naturally more sensitive to stimulation.”

Hadjikhani said the results indicate that the brain’s sensory mechanisms are important components in migraine. “This may explain why people with migraines often also have other pain disorders such as back pain, jaw pain, and other sensory problems such as allodynia, where the skin becomes so sensitive that even a gentle breeze can be painful.”

Other studies have shown changes in the cortex. The area becomes thinner in neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. But the area thickens with extensive motor training and learning.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Explore further: Research milestone in CCHF virus could help identify new treatments

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Alibaba prices IPO at $68 per share

52 minutes ago

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce powerhouse named after a fabled, poor woodsman who discovers a thieves' den full of treasures, is ready to strike it rich on the New York Stock Exchange.

Home Depot breach affected 56M debit, credit cards (Update)

2 hours ago

Home Depot said that 56 million debit and credit cards are estimated to have been breached in a data theft between April and September at its stores in the U.S. and Canada. That makes it the second-largest breach for a retailer ...

Marcellus drilling boom may have led to too many hotel rooms

2 hours ago

Drilling in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region led to a rapid increase in both the number of hotels and hotel industry jobs, but Penn State researchers report that the faltering occupancy rate may signal that there are ...

Recommended for you

A new way to prevent the spread of devastating diseases

7 hours ago

For decades, researchers have tried to develop broadly effective vaccines to prevent the spread of illnesses such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. While limited progress has been made along these lines, ...

New molecule allows for increase in stem cell transplants

8 hours ago

Investigators from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the Université de Montréal have just published, in the prestigious magazine Science, the announcement of the discovery of a new molecule, the fi ...

Team explores STXBP5 gene and its role in blood clotting

10 hours ago

Two independent groups of researchers led by Sidney (Wally) Whiteheart, PhD, of the University of Kentucky, and Charles Lowenstein, MD, of the University of Rochester, have published important studies exploring the role that ...

User comments : 0