Concurrent functional and structural cortical alterations in migraine

Cephalalgia, 06/01/2012

These results suggest differential response patterns in the sensory vs. affective processing regions in the brain that may be an adaptive response to repeated migraine attacks.


  • From a group of 60 episodic migraineurs, 20 were recruited to the study.
  • Using high–resolution magnetic resonance imaging, structural and functional cortical measures were compared in migraineurs who experienced increased frequency of attacks (HF; 8–14 days/month; n=10), to those who experienced less frequent migraine attacks (LF;<2 days/month; n=10), and to healthy controls (HC; n=20).


  • Parallel structural and functional differences were found as follows:
    • HF patients showed higher thickness in the area representing the face in the post–central gyrus, which correlated with the observed stronger functional activation, suggesting adaptation to repeated sensory drive;
    • Smaller cortical volume was observed in the cingulate cortex that correlated with lower activation in the HF group;
    • And similarly significant structural and functional differences (HF>LF) were observed in the insula that may reflect potential alteration in affective processing.

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