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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Sensory migraine aura is not associated with structural grey matter abnormalities

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Migraine with aura (MA) is characterized by cortical dysfunction. Frequent aura attacks may alter cerebral cortical structure in patients, or structural grey matter abnormalities may predispose MA patients to aura attacks. In the present study we aimed to investigate cerebral grey matter structure in a large group of MA patients with and without sensory aura (i.e. gradually developing, transient unilateral sensory disturbances). We included 60 patients suffering from migraine with typical visual aura and 60 individually age and sex-matched controls. Twenty-nine of the patients additionally experienced sensory aura regularly. We analysed high-resolution structural MR images using two complimentary approaches and compared patients with and without sensory aura. Patients were also compared to controls. We found no differences of grey matter density or cortical thickness between patients with and without sensory aura and no differences for the cortical visual areas between patients and controls. The somatosensory cortex was thinner in patients (1.92 mm vs. 1.96 mm, P = 0.043) and the anterior cingulate cortex of patients had a decreased grey matter density (P = 0.039) compared to controls. These differences were not correlated to the clinical characteristics. Our results suggest that sensory migraine aura is not associated with altered grey matter structure and that patients with visual aura have normal cortical structure of areas involved in visual processing. The observed decreased grey matter volume of the cingulate gyrus in patients compared to controls have previously been reported in migraine with and without aura, but also in a wide range of other neurologic and psychiatric disorders. Most likely, this finding reflects general bias between patients and healthy controls.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Volume11
Pages (from-to)322-7
Number of pages6
ISSN2213-1582
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 49696701