Cortical morphological changes in chronic migraine in a Taiwanese cohort: Surface- and voxel-based analyses

Kuan Lin Lai, David M. Niddam, Jong Ling Fuh, Wei Ta Chen, Jaw Ching Wu, Shuu Jiun Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Previous voxel- or surface-based morphometric analysis studies have revealed alterations in cortical structure in patients with chronic migraine, yet with inconsistent results. The discrepancies may be derived partly from the sample heterogeneity. Employing both methods in a clinically homogenous group may provide a clearer view. Methods: Structural MRI data from 30 prevention-naïve patients with chronic migraine without medication overuse headache or a history of major depression and 30 healthy controls were analyzed. Vertex-wise (surface-based) or voxel-wise (voxel-based) linear models were applied, after controlling for age and gender, to investigate between-group differences. Averaged cortical thicknesses and volumes from regions showing group differences were correlated with parameters related to clinical profiles. Results: Surface-based morphometry showed significantly thinner cortices in the bilateral insular cortex, caudal middle frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, and parietal lobes in patients with chronic migraine relative to healthy controls. Additionally, the number of migraine days in the month preceding MRI examination was correlated negatively with right insular cortical thickness. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) did not show any group differences or clinical correlations. Conclusion: Patients with chronic migraine without medication overuse headache, major depression, or prior preventive treatment had reduced cortical thickness in regions within the pain-processing network. Compared to voxel-based morphometry, surface-based morphometry analysis may be more sensitive to subtle structural differences between healthy controls and patients with chronic migraine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-585
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 May 2020


  • Chronic migraine
  • cortical thickness
  • surface-based morphometry
  • voxel-based morphometry


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