People with migraine who experience light and sound sensitivity have increased connectivity among the primary sensory cortices, according to a study published in Neurology.
Many people who have migraines experience sensitivity to light and sound. The researchers in this study hypothesized that this may be due to increased connectivity within primary sensory networks in the brain.
The study included 15 patients with migraines without aura who experienced light and sound sensitivity and 15 matched healthy controls. The researchers compared participants’ intrinsic connectivity patterns using fMRI and a region-of-interest analysis. For participants with migraines, fMRIs were not performed within three days before or after a migraine.
The results showed that people with migraines had higher levels of connectivity between primary visual and auditory cortices and the right dorsal AI compared with controls. They also had higher connectivity between the dorsal pons and the bilateral anterior insulae, and between the right and left ventral anterior insulae. In the people with migraines, the level of increased connectivity was not associated with migraine frequency or sensory sensitivity.
While the researchers did not test participants during a migraine attack due to logistical challenges, they believe it could be interesting to investigate whether these connections are strengthened even more during an attack.
Currently, there are no migraine therapies that target these specific brain regions. The results of this study may have implications for developing imaging biomarkers to gauge how therapeutics will affect a person with migraines.
Researchers sought to explore whether patients with migraine show heightened interictal intrinsic connectivity within primary sensory networks, the salience network, and a network anchored by the dorsal pons, a region known to be active during migraine attacks
Migraineurs showed increased connectivity between primary visual and auditory cortices and the right dorsal anterior insula, between the dorsal pons and the bilateral anterior insulae, and between the right and left ventral anterior insulae. Increased connectivity showed no clinical correlation with migraine frequency or sensory sensitivity.