Chronic Migraine Associated With Age-Related Changes in Cortical Thickness

man getting MRI
man getting MRI
Individuals with chronic migraine may present with age-related changes in cortical thickness.
The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2018 American Headache Society Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, California. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from AHS 2018.

SAN FRANCISCO — Individuals with chronic migraine may present with age-related changes in cortical thickness, according to research presented at the American Headache Society’s 60th Annual Scientific Meeting, held June 28- July 1, 2018, in San Francisco, California.

Researchers led by Yohannes W. Woldeamanuel, MD, of Stanford University in California, and colleagues sought to examine age-related changes on cortical thickness in patients with chronic migraine. The study included 30 patients with chronic migraine (mean age, 40.5; 80% women) and 30 age- and sex-matched controls who underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Investigators were not blinded to the presence of migraine in study participants, and age-related changes in cortical thickness were determined with a linear regression analysis. Confounding factors (ie, chronic migraine duration and lifetime migraine) were controlled for using multiple regression analysis.

Age-related thinning was observed in the lateral orbitofrontal and supramarginal cortex of the left hemisphere of participants with chronic migraine vs healthy controls. Age-related cortical thinning in the left hemisphere, (pars orbitalis, superior and inferior parietal, superior temporal, pars opercularis, posterior cingulate, precuneus, superior frontal regions) which was observed in healthy individuals, was not present in their counterparts with chronic migraine.

Patients with chronic migraine exhibited age-related cortical thinning in the right hemisphere (banks of superior temporal sulcus, caudal anterior cingulate, inferior parietal, precuneus, and supramarginal cortex) compared with individuals with no migraine. Age-related thinning in the right hemisphere (caudal middle frontal, isthmus cingulate, lateral orbitofrontal, paracentral, pars orbitalis, posterior cingulate, rostral middle frontal, superior frontal, and temporal pole) observed in individuals without migraine was not visible in those with chronic migraine.

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“Absence of normative age-related cortical thinning in implicated brain areas possibly indicate a perpetually enhanced headache response, head pain cognition, visual and auditory processing, affective behavior, interaction with internal and external cues, and multi-sensory integration,” noted the investigators. “Accelerated age-related thinning in brain areas involved in sensory pain pathways possibly represent reduced habituation in chronic migraine. Age-related cortical thinning may indicate progressive loss of migraine modulation. Repetitive migraine attacks may increase allostatic load from headache and non-headache migraine symptoms,” they concluded. The investigators continue to follow these cohorts in order to examine the possible relationships between age-related cortical thinning and cause or effects of chronic migraine.

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Woldeamanuel Y, DeSouza D, Sanjanwala B, Cowan R. Age-related cortical thickness changes in chronic migraine. Presented at: 2018 American Headache Society Annual Scientific Meeting. June 28-July 1, 2018; San Francisco, CA. Abstract 490366.

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor