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Migraine attacks the Basal Ganglia

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Author(s): Maleki Nasim | Becerra Lino | Nutile Lauren | Pendse Gautam | Brawn Jennifer | Bigal Marcelo | Burstein Rami | Borsook David

Journal: Molecular Pain
ISSN 1744-8069

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 71;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Headache | Pain | Migraine | fMRI | Functional Connectivity | Morphometry | Gray Matter Volume | Basal Ganglia

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background With time, episodes of migraine headache afflict patients with increased frequency, longer duration and more intense pain. While episodic migraine may be defined as 1-14 attacks per month, there are no clear-cut phases defined, and those patients with low frequency may progress to high frequency episodic migraine and the latter may progress into chronic daily headache (> 15 attacks per month). The pathophysiology of this progression is completely unknown. Attempting to unravel this phenomenon, we used high field (human) brain imaging to compare functional responses, functional connectivity and brain morphology in patients whose migraine episodes did not progress (LF) to a matched (gender, age, age of onset and type of medication) group of patients whose migraine episodes progressed (HF). Results In comparison to LF patients, responses to pain in HF patients were significantly lower in the caudate, putamen and pallidum. Paradoxically, associated with these lower responses in HF patients, gray matter volume of the right and left caudate nuclei were significantly larger than in the LF patients. Functional connectivity analysis revealed additional differences between the two groups in regard to response to pain. Conclusions Supported by current understanding of basal ganglia role in pain processing, the findings suggest a significant role of the basal ganglia in the pathophysiology of the episodic migraine.
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