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Review
, 27 (3), 309-14

Migraine and Structural Abnormalities in the Brain

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Review

Migraine and Structural Abnormalities in the Brain

Anders Hougaard et al. Curr Opin Neurol.

Abstract

Purpose of review: The aim is to provide an overview of recent studies of structural brain abnormalities in migraine and to discuss the potential clinical significance of their findings.

Recent findings: Brain structure continues to be a topic of extensive research in migraine. Despite advances in neuroimaging techniques, it is not yet clear if migraine is associated with grey matter changes. Recent large population-based studies sustain the notion of increased prevalence of white matter abnormalities in migraine, and possibly of silent infarct-like lesions. The clinical relevance of this association is not clear. Structural changes are not related to cognitive decline, but a link to an increased risk of stroke, especially in patients with aura, cannot be ruled out.

Summary: Migraine may be a risk factor for structural changes in the brain. It is not yet clear how factors such as migraine sub-type, attack frequency, and sex affects this association. Additional longitudinal studies are needed to address these issues. Brain structure changes in migraine could potentially serve as disease biomarkers or as a mean of identifying sub-groups of patients with specific therapeutic needs and prognoses.

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