STUNNING scans have revealed an important clue that could help solve the current mystery of why certain people experience debilitating migraines.
MRI scans show that people with the painful condition have enlarged, fluid-filled spaces surrounding blood vessels in central regions of the brain.
The US researchers believe this could suggest that these people have problems clearing waste from the brain and nervous system.
A migraine It is usually characterized by a moderate to severe headache that feels like a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
Around 10 million people aged 15 to 69 in the UK have the condition.what does it cost National Health Service about £400 million each year, estimates suggest.
The cost to the broader economy is even higher, with around £4.4 billion a year lost from three million migraine-related sick days, according to England’s NHS.
Wilson Xu, from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA, said: “In people with chronic migraine and episodic migraine without aura, there are significant changes in the perivascular spaces of a region of the brain called the centrum semiovale.
“These changes have never been reported before.”
Although the nature of the link between large perivascular spaces and migraine is unclear, the results suggest that a migraine comes with a problem with the brain’s plumbing, the researchers explained.
This is because the process of emptying waste from the brain, known as glymphatic systemuses perivascular channels for transport.
What are the typical symptoms of migraine?
Migraines can ruin your day with intense pain and cause you to hide in a dark room until they pass. These are some of the most common symptoms.
- Throbbing, throbbing pain
- light sensitivity
- sound sensitivity
- pain on one side
- Changes in vision, blurred vision
Source: NHS England
“The results of our study could help inspire future larger-scale studies to further investigate how changes in the brain’s microscopic vessels and blood supply contribute to different types of migraine,” Professor Wilson said.
“Eventually, this could help us develop new, personalized ways to diagnose and treat migraine.”
The latest study looked at the brains of 25 people between the ages of 25 and 60.
All were healthy and had no cognitive impairments or mental health problems.
Some had frequent migraines, others reported occasional migraines, and others did not report any symptoms.
All of the participants underwent a high-resolution brain scan known as a 7T scan, which produces higher-resolution images than an MRI.
The results showed that migraineurs had significantly more enlarged perivascular spaces than those who had never experienced the condition.
The results of the study will be presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago, United States.