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article imageMigraines linked to different sizes of brain arteries

By Tim Sandle     Aug 4, 2013 in Health
According to a new study, the network of arteries supplying blood flow to the brain is more likely to be incomplete in people who suffer migraine.
A new study has shown that variations in arterial anatomy can lead to differences in the blood flow to the brain, and that this might contribute to the process triggering migraines. It is assumed by many medics that migraines are caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the head, according to American News.
The arterial supply of blood to the brain is protected by a series of connections between the major arteries, termed the "circle of Willis". It is named after Thomas Willis (1621–1675), an English physician.
What has come from examining scores of migraine and non-migraine sufferers is that people with migraine, particularly migraine with aura, are more likely to be missing components of the circle of Willis. Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to examine blood vessel structure and measure changes in blood flow.
The study found that structural alterations of the blood supply to the brain may increase susceptibility to changes in cerebral blood flow, contributing to the abnormal neuronal activity that starts migraine.
The study has been conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, led by Brett Cucchiara, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology. The Hindu quotes Cucchiara as saying the following in relation to the research:
“These differences seem to be associated with changes in blood flow in the brain, and it’s possible that these changes may trigger migraine, which may explain why some people, for instance, notice that dehydration triggers their headaches.”
The findings have been published in the journal PLOS ONE. The paper is titled "Migraine with Aura Is Associated with an Incomplete Circle of Willis: Results of a Prospective Observational Study."
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