Interictal photosensitivity associates with altered brain structure in patients with episodic migraine

Catherine D. Chong, Amaal Starling, Todd J Schwedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Migraine attacks manifest with hypersensitivities to light, sound, touch and odor. Some people with migraine have photosensitivity between migraine attacks, suggesting persistent alterations in the integrity of brain regions that process light. Although functional neuroimaging studies have shown visual stimulus induced "hyperactivation" of visual cortex regions in migraineurs between attacks, whether photosensitivity is associated with alterations in brain structure is unknown. Methods Levels of photosensitivity were evaluated using the Photosensitivity Assessment Questionnaire in 48 interictal migraineurs and 48 healthy controls. Vertex-by-vertex measurements of cortical thickness were assessed in 28 people with episodic migraine who had interictal photosensitivity (mean age = 35.0 years, SD = 12.1) and 20 episodic migraine patients without symptoms of interictal photosensitivity (mean age = 36.0 years, SD = 11.4) using a general linear model design. Results Migraineurs have greater levels of interictal photosensitivity relative to healthy controls. Relative to migraineurs without interictal photosensitivity, migraineurs with interictal photosensitivity have thicker cortex in several brain areas including the right lingual, isthmus cingulate and pericalcarine regions, and the left precentral, postcentral and supramarginal regions. Conclusion Episodic migraineurs with interictal photosensitivity have greater cortical thickness in the right parietal-occipital and left fronto-parietal regions, suggesting that persistent light sensitivity is associated with underlying structural alterations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-533
Number of pages8
JournalCephalalgia
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • cortical thickness
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • Migraine
  • MRI
  • neuroimaging
  • photophobia
  • photosensitivity
  • visual sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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