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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 Jul 2019 - 12 Jul 2019

Human Studies



PLoS One



Relating excitatory and inhibitory neurochemicals to visual perception: A magnetic resonance study of occipital cortex between migraine events.


Chan Y M, Pitchaimuthu K, Wu Q-Z, Carter OL, Egan GF, Badcock DR, McKendrick AM
PLoS One. 2019; 14(7):e0208666.
PMID: 31291247.


Certain perceptual measures have been proposed as indirect assays of brain neurochemical status in people with migraine. One such measure is binocular rivalry, however, previous studies have not measured rivalry characteristics and brain neurochemistry together in people with migraine. This study compared spectroscopy-measured levels of GABA and Glx (glutamine and glutamate complex) in visual cortex between 16 people with migraine and 16 non-headache controls, and assessed whether the concentration of these neurochemicals explains, at least partially, inter-individual variability in binocular rivalry perceptual measures. Mean Glx level was significantly reduced in migraineurs relative to controls, whereas mean occipital GABA levels were similar between groups. Neither GABA levels, nor Glx levels correlated with rivalry percept duration. Our results thus suggest that the previously suggested relationship between rivalry percept duration and GABAergic inhibitory neurotransmitter concentration in visual cortex is not strong enough to enable rivalry percept duration to be reliably assumed to be a surrogate for GABA concentration, at least in the context of healthy individuals and those that experience migraine.