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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Of The Brain In Patients With Migraine

Hisaka Igarashi, Fumihiko Sakai, Shinichi Kan, Jun Okada, Yoshiaki Tazaki

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was studied in 91 patients with migraine and in 98 controls. Risk factors known to cause MRI lesions were carefully examined. In 36 patients with migraine (39.6%), small foci of high intensity on T2-weighted and proton-density-weighted images were seen in the white matter. Of patients with migraine who were less than 40 years old and without any risk factor, 29.4% showed lesions on MRI; this was significantly higher than the 11.2% for the group of age-matched controls ( n = 98). The lesions were distributed predominantly in the centrum semiovale and frontal white matter in young patients, but extended to the deeper white matter at the level of basal ganglia in the older age group. The side of the MRI lesions did not always correspond to the side of usual aura or headache. Migraine-related variables such as type of migraine, frequency, duration or intensity of headache or consumption of ergotamine showed no significant correlation with the incidence of MRI abnormalities. Our data indicated that migraine may be associated with early pathologic changes in the brain.