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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Jul 2020 - 17 Jul 2020


2020 Jul 11

J Headache Pain



Is there a reliable brain morphological signature for migraine?


Wang H Z, Wang W H, Shi HC, Yuan CH
J Headache Pain. 2020 Jul 11; 21(1):89.
PMID: 32652927.


Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) is a popular non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging technique to investigate brain gray matter (GM) differences between groups. Recently, two VBM studies in migraine have been published in The Journal of Headache and Pain. Reviewing the two and those previous published VBM studies, we found considerable variations of the results. Spatially diverse brain regions with decreased and increased GM alterations and null findings have been reported. It is interesting to know whether there is a reliable brain morphological signature for migraine. Coordinate-based meta-analysis (CBMA) is increasingly used to quantitatively pool individual neuroimaging studies to identify consistent and reliable findings. Several CBMA have been conducted, however, their results were inconsistent. The algorithms for CBMA have evolved and more eligible VBM studies in migraine have been published. We therefore conducted an updated CBMA using the latest algorithms for CBMA, seed-based d mapping with permutation of subject images (SDM-PSI). The present CBMA of 32 VBM studies (41 datasets comprising 1252 patients and 1025 healthy controls) found no evidence of consistent GM alterations in migraine. Sensitivity analysis, subgroup meta-analyses, and meta-regression analyses revealed that the result was robust. This negative result indicates that there is no reliable brain morphological signature for migraine. VBM investigations in migraine remain a heterogeneous field. Many potential confounding factors, such as underpowered sample sizes, variations in demographic and clinical characteristics, and differences in MRI scanners, head coils, scanning parameters, preprocessing procedures, and statistical strategies may cause the inconsistences of the results. Future VBM studies are warranted to enroll well-characterized and homogeneous subtype samples with appropriate sample sizes, comprehensively assess comorbidities and medication status, and use well-validated and standardized imaging protocols and processing and analysis pipelines to produce robust and replicable results in migraine.