Migraines tied to brain abnormalities
People who suffer from migraines could have a brain abnormality that affects the way they process pain, according to a study published in the journal Radiology.
Researchers used brain scans to measure the thickness and surface area of the cerebral cortex of 81 people - 63 of them suffered from chronic migraines and 18 had never experienced a migraine.The cerebral cortex is a thin layer of gray matter that covers the surface of each hemisphere of the brain. The cortex helps the brain process memory, perception, thoughts and pain, and controls social abilities, language, problem-solving and motor function.
The brain scans of those participants with migraines showed that their cortex was significantly thinner in the areas the processed pain, and that they had less cerebral cortex cover overall compared to those who had never suffered from a migraine. This could be because the pain caused by migraines stimulates the cortex and causes it to deteriorate more rapidly than people without migraines. But cortical surface area develops mostly as the brain develops in-utero. This suggests that the cortex surface area abnormality is present at birth and causes the migraines.
More research is needed to determine if the brain abnormalities associated with migraines are present at birth or if this condition is something that develops over time.