Brain white matter hyperintensities in migraine: Clinical and radiological correlates

Udaya Seneviratne, Winston Chong, Phiroz Billimoria

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Objective: Migraine is a recognised cause of brain white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However radiological characteristics of those in migraine are not well defined. We sought to study the radiological characteristics and factors associated with WMH in migraine. 

Methods: Migraine patients who were investigated with MRI of the brain in the outpatient clinic were studied retrospectively. Two groups were delineated based on the presence or absence of WMH in MRI scans. The clinical and demographic characteristics between the two groups were compared to delineate the associations of WMH. 

Results: Forty four patients were studied, out of which 19 demonstrated WMH on MRI. Frontal lobe was involved in all subjects with WMH. Infratentorial hyperintensities were not seen in any. Subcortical and deep white matter was the commonest distribution while callosal and subcallosal lesions were very rare. Family history of migraine, increasing age, and increasing headache frequency emerged as significant associations of WMH in multivariable analysis. 

Conclusions: There are characteristic radiological features and clinical associations of WMH in migraine. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1040-1043
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Migraine disorders
  • Stroke
  • White matter hyperintensity

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