Volume and shape of subcortical grey matter structures related to headache: A cross-sectional population-based imaging study in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Background The relationship between subcortical nuclei and headache is unclear. Most previous studies were conducted in small clinical migraine samples. In the present population-based MRI study, we hypothesized that headache sufferers exhibit reduced volume and deformation of the nucleus accumbens compared to non-sufferers. In addition, volume and deformation of the amygdala, caudate, hippocampus, pallidum, putamen and thalamus were examined. Methods In all, 1006 participants (50–66 years) from the third Nord-Trøndelag Health Survey, were randomly selected to undergo a brain MRI at 1.5 T. Volume and shape of the subcortical nuclei from T1 weighted 3D scans were obtained in FreeSurfer and FSL. The association with questionnaire-based headache categories (migraine and tension-type headache included) was evaluated using analysis of covariance. Individuals not suffering from headache were used as controls. Age, sex, intracranial volume and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale were used as covariates. Results No effect of headache status on accumbens volume and shape was present. Exploratory analyses showed significant but small differences in volume of caudate and putamen and in putamen shape between those with non-migrainous headache and the controls. A post hoc analysis showed that caudate volume was strongly associated with white matter hyperintensities. Conclusion We did not confirm our hypothesis that headache sufferers have smaller volume and different shape of the accumbens compared to non-sufferers. No or only small differences in volume and shape of subcortical nuclei between headache sufferers and non-sufferers appear to exist in the general population.