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article imageStudy: Migraines Thicken the Brain

By David Silverberg     Nov 22, 2007 in Health
Migraine sufferers have different brains than others, scientists have discovered. A part of the brain’s cortex is thicker in people who endure migraines compared to those who live pain-free.
Digital Journal — Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found a part of the brain’s cortex to be 21 per cent thicker in migraine sufferers than those who don’t suffer from the condition.
This finding suggests this change may make some people hyper sensitive to pain in general.
It’s not clear, though, whether the cortex’s growth is the cause of or the result from these migraine attacks.
Lead researcher Dr. Nouchine Hadjikhani suggests if the headaches could be prevented in the first place, changes in the brain would also cease. As a result, patients wouldn’t become sensitive to pain, which is common for migraine sufferers.
She told BBC NEWS: "This may explain why people with migraines often also have other pain disorders such as back pain, jaw pain, and other sensory problems such as allodynia, where the skin becomes so sensitive that even a gentle breeze can be painful."
Professor Peter Goadsby, of the University College London Institute of Neurology, was encouraged by the discovery, saying: "The new data provide further clear evidence that migraine is a brain disorder. The findings are consistent with a change in the way the brain handles information, such as pain signals or light or sound."
These latest findings support the theory that migraine sufferers have a different neurological landscape than those who suffer from normal headaches.
In an unrelated study, researcher Mark C. Kruit from Leiden University in the Netherlands identified small lesions in the brains of a significant percentage of migraine sufferers. Kruit told CBS News these studies would “change the common perception that migraine is a trivial problem with only transient symptoms.”
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