Abnormal Brain Activity in Migraine Sufferers Not Restricted to Attacks

June 23, 2010

Migraine Typically, migraine is considered to be an episodic disorder with discrete attacks of headache.

But new research by Dr. Till Sprenger and his team found increased network activity — stronger functional connectivity — bilaterally in the visual, auditory and sensorimotor network in migraine sufferers.

“There has been increasing evidence that the processing and perception of sensory stimuli is abnormal even outside of attacks,” said Dr. Sprenger. “Now our findings underline that abnormal brain activity in migraineurs is not restricted to attacks – that there is an extensive alteration of functional connectivity in multiple networks reflecting the migrainous phenotype, emphasizing that migraine is a disorder of the brain.”

“This research has been anticipated for some time and is absolutely fundamental to our understanding of migraine,” said David Dodick, president of the American Headache Society. “It is likely that the observed interictal abnormalities of brain activity and connectivity explains the predisposition to spontaneous attacks, as well as the vulnerability of migraineurs to a myriad of external and endogenous triggers. It may also explain the persistence of headache in some sufferers and the persistence of symptoms in between attacks of pain (e.g. sensitivity to light).”

1. Till Sprenger, et al. American Headache Society

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