A new study has shown enlarged perivascular spaces in migraine sufferers’ brains for the first time, according to a press release.
“In people with chronic migraine and episodic migraine without aura, there are significant changes in the perivascular spaces of a brain region called the centrum semiovale,” said study co-author Wilson Xu, an M.D. candidate at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
The findings of the study will be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) next week.
More than 37 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraine, and up to 148 million people around the world are estimated to have chronic migraine, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
The research team used ultra-high-field 7T MRI to study the link between migraine and enlarged perivascular spaces.
“Perivascular spaces are part of a fluid clearance system in the brain,” Xu said. “Studying how they contribute to migraine could help us better understand the complexities of how migraines occur.”
The results showed that the number of enlarged perivascular spaces in the centrum semiovale, the central area of white matter, was massively higher in patients with migraine than in healthy controls.
“We studied chronic migraine and episodic migraine without aura and found that, for both types of migraine, perivascular spaces were bigger in the centrum semiovale,” said Xu.
“Although we didn’t find any significant changes in the severity of white matter lesions in patients with and without migraine, these white matter lesions were significantly linked to the presence of enlarged perivascular spaces. This suggests that changes in perivascular spaces could lead to the future development of more white matter lesions.”
This can be groundbreaking for in-depth studies of the brain.
“Eventually, this could help us develop new, personalized ways to diagnose and treat migraine.”