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Abnormal Brain Activity In Migraineurs Is Not Restricted To Attacks

QEEG Brain MapTypically, migraine is considered to be an episodic disorder with discrete attacks of headache. But new research by Dr. Till Sprenger and his team from UCSF Headache Group and Technische Universität München found increased network activity – stronger functional connectivity – bilaterally in the visual, auditory and sensorimotor network in migraineurs. Findings will be presented at the American Headache Society’s 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting.

“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, M.D. 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).”

Material adapted from American Headache Society.

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One Response to Abnormal Brain Activity In Migraineurs Is Not Restricted To Attacks

  1. avatar
    Christopher Fisher, M.A. July 11, 2010 at 10:13 AM #

    The article mentions a possible migraine phenotype. Though the researchers did not mention the type of brain imaging technology used, QEEG is one promising suspect since functional connectivity is a primary measure of QEEG-based brain maps.

    I am very interested in this topic and even wrote a series of articles entitled “An Introduction to EEG Phenotypes Part 1, Part 2, and
    Part 3.” I tried to find out more on this headache phenotype research, but hit a dead end in my search. I emailed the contact person for this press release. I will report back if I uncover any additional newsworthy details on the ‘migrainous phenotype.’

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