|A) Anatomy of the circle of Willis B) Complete circle C) Incomplete circle. Courtesy: Penn Medicine/Brett Cucchiara/John Detre|
Posted by Neill Abayon
An incomplete network of arteries that supply blood to the brain could be a culprit for migraine headaches. A study recently published in PLOS ONE reveals that variations in the brain's arteries cause inconsistent blood flow, which may trigger migraines.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania were particularly interested in a set of connections between major arteries that protect the supply of blood to the brain. These connections are called the "circle of Willis," named after the English doctor who first described it in the 1600s.
The researchers studied 170 people in three groups:
56 who had migraine with aura, a perceptual disturbance
61 people who had migraine without aura.
The team, led by Dr. Brett Cucchiara, measured changes in brain blood flow using magnetic resonance angiography to analyze the blood vessel structure of the subjects, as well as an MRI method called Arterial spin labeling (ASL).