A new study from Italy has found that people who suffer from migraine headaches have a thinner and smaller cortex in the regions of the brain associated with pain. The researchers also found that people who experience an “aura” before a migraine–usually characterized as a flash of light or color before migraine onset–show different brain areas to be affected vs. those who don’t experience auras.
The researchers don’t know whether having migraines causes these structural changes in the brain, or whether the changes cause the migraines. One researcher on the study suggests that “…migraine patients might have a sort of cortical ‘signature’… which could make them more susceptible to pain and abnormal processing of painful stimuli,” and mentioned that “once migraines develop, they may alter the thickness of the brain’s cortex.”
The researchers hope that this improved understanding of the brain will help with future diagnosis and treatment of migraines. For more details, you can read this article from WebMD.