A Step Toward Figuring Out Migraines? Scans show how the condition affects the brain

Andrew Charles

"Many aspects of migraines remain medical mysteries, but scientists may have taken a step toward understanding the condition with scans showing the effects it has on the brain.

The results, which were reviewed and will be presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, were made using high-resolution MRI scans. Researchers with the medical society then examined 10 participants diagnosed with chronic migraines, 10 with episodic migraines without aura, and five people who served as controls. The participants ranged from 25 to 60 years old.

When analyzing the results of the scans, researchers noticed those with chronic or episodic migraines had much enlarged perivascular spaces – the fluid-filled spaces that surround blood vessels in the brain and clear the area of waste – compared to those that don't have migraines.


Dr. Andrew Charles, neurologist and director at the University of California, Los Angeles Goldberg Migraine Program, who was not involved in the study, said the findings pique his curiosity, but he isn't sure how the results should be interpreted. 

"There's all kinds of stuff happening in the perivascular space," he said. "The question is this a cause or a consequence (of migraines.)"

Charles lauded researchers for using the high-resolution MRI approach to look at migraines, adding they are "going to be helpful and potentially revealing" when it comes to understanding migraines."

Read more in USA Today.