Migraine in the young brain: Adolescents vs. Young adults

Elisabeth Colon, Allison Ludwick, Sophie L. Wilcox, Andrew M. Youssef, Amy Danehy, Damien A. Fair, Alyssa A. Lebel, Rami Burstein, Lino Becerra, David Borsook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Migraine is a disease that peaks in late adolescence and early adulthood. The aim of this study was to evaluate age-related brain changes in resting state functional connectivity (rs-FC) in migraineurs vs. age-sex matched healthy controls at two developmental stages: adolescence vs. young adulthood. The effect of the disease was assessed within each developmental group and age- and sex-matched healthy controls and between developmental groups (migraine-related age effects). Globally the within group comparisons indicated more widespread abnormal rs-FC in the adolescents than in the young adults and more abnormal rs-FC associated with sensory networks in the young adults. Direct comparison of the two groups showed a number of significant changes: (1) more connectivity changes in the default mode network in the adolescents than in the young adults; (2) stronger rs-FC in the cerebellum network in the adolescents in comparison to young adults; and (3) stronger rs-FC in the executive and sensorimotor network in the young adults. The duration and frequency of the disease were differently associated with baseline intrinsic connectivity in the two groups. fMRI resting state networks demonstrate significant changes in brain function at critical time point of brain development and that potentially different treatment responsivity for the disease may result.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number87
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the NIH/NINDS: K24NS064050 and R01NS0750182 to DB. The Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative Pain Medicine’s Trailblazer Award to SW also supported this work. EC has received support from the Belgian American Foundation (B.A.E.F.) and from the Wallonie-Bruxelles International – WBI World Excellence Postdoctoral Fellowship.


  • Age-related
  • Brain
  • Brain development
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Headaches
  • Pediatric
  • Resting-state functional connectivity

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