Feeds

Having a migraine? Blame your brain

Study finds structural differences

Intelligent flash storage arrays

People who suffer from migraines have differently structured brains. According to new research, those who suffer from the severe headaches (often accompanied by nausea and "aura" - patterns of lights dancing before the eyes) have a thickening in the region of the brain that processes sensory information.

A study of 24 volunteers, 12 of whom suffered from migraine, found that in sufferers, the somatosensory cortex was 21 per cent thicker. It is not yet clear whether the structural anomaly causes the migraine, or if it is somehow caused by the blinding headaches, but the discovery suggests that migraine sufferers could be more sensitive to other pain as well.

The work was led by Dr Nouchine Hadjikhani, based at the Martinos Centre for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and is published in the journal Neurology.

"Repeated migraine attacks may lead to, or be the result of, these structural changes in the brain," she said.

"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."

She says the work is important because it demonstrates that there is a neurological component to migraine attacks. This, she argues, could help explain why migraine sufferers are likely to report other pain disorders: back pain, jaw pain and even sensory disorders such as allodynia, "where the skin becomes so sensitive that even a gentle breeze can be painful".

Although it is a small study, the research has been welcomed by the medical community. Dr Andrew Dowson, medical advisor to the Migraine Action Association, told the BBC: "Who knows where this might lead with new diagnostic possibilities and therapeutic targets?" ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.