(HealthDay News) – Patients with migraines have cortical thickness and surface area abnormalities that may represent both a predisposition to the condition as well as disease-related processes, according to a study published online March 26 in Radiology.

Roberta Messina, MD, from Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, and colleagues performed T2-weighted and three-dimensional T1-weighted magnetic resonance images of the brains of 63 patients with migraines and 18 matched healthy control subjects. The authors sought to estimate cortical thickness and cortical surface area.

The researchers found that patients with migraines showed significantly reduced cortical thickness and surface area in regions subserving pain processing, whereas cortical thickness and surface area were significantly increased in regions involved in executive functions and visual motion processing. Cortical surface area abnormalities were more pronounced and more widely distributed than cortical thickness abnormalities, with minimal anatomic overlap between the two abnormalities. There was a significant relationship between cortical thickness and surface area abnormalities and aura and white matter hyperintensities. There was no association with disease duration and attack frequency.

“Cortical abnormalities occur in migraineurs and may represent the results of a balance between an intrinsic predisposition, as suggested by cortical surface area abnormalities, and disease-related processes, as indicated by cortical thickness abnormalities,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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