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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Sep 2023 - 15 Sep 2023


Human Studies, Neurobiology, Neuroimaging

Migraine/Headache, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Sep 02

Diagnostics (Basel)




Migraine Aura-Catch Me If You Can with EEG and MRI-A Narrative Review.


Riederer F, Beiersdorf J, Scutelnic A, Schankin CJ


Roughly one-third of migraine patients suffer from migraine with aura, characterized by transient focal neurological symptoms or signs such as visual disturbance, sensory abnormalities, speech problems, or paresis in association with the headache attack. Migraine with aura is associated with an increased risk for stroke, epilepsy, and with anxiety disorder. Diagnosis of migraine with aura sometimes requires exclusion of secondary causes if neurological deficits present for the first time or are atypical. It was the aim of this review to summarize EEG an MRI findings during migraine aura in the context of pathophysiological concepts. This is a narrative review based on a systematic literature search. During visual auras, EEG showed no consistent abnormalities related to aura, although transient focal slowing in occipital regions has been observed in quantitative studies. In contrast, in familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) and migraine with brain stem aura, significant EEG abnormalities have been described consistently, including slowing over the affected hemisphere or bilaterally or suppression of EEG activity. Epileptiform potentials in FHM are most likely attributable to associated epilepsy. The initial perfusion change during migraine aura is probably a short lasting hyperperfusion. Subsequently, perfusion MRI has consistently demonstrated cerebral hypoperfusion usually not restricted to one vascular territory, sometimes associated with vasoconstriction of peripheral arteries, particularly in pediatric patients, and rebound hyperperfusion in later phases. An emerging potential MRI signature of migraine aura is the appearance of dilated veins in susceptibility-weighted imaging, which may point towards the cortical regions related to aura symptoms (“index vein”). Conclusions: Cortical spreading depression (CSD) cannot be directly visualized but there are probable consequences thereof that can be captured Non-invasive detection of CSD is probably very challenging in migraine. Future perspectives will be elaborated based on the studies summarized.