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Migraine and reward system-or is it aversive?

  • Author(s): Cahill, Catherine M
  • Cook, Christopher
  • Pickens, Sarah
  • et al.
Abstract

Migraine is a debilitating neurological disorder with grave consequences for both the individual and society. This review will focus on recent literature investigating how brain structures implicated in reward and aversion contribute to the genesis of migraine pain. There exist many overlapping and interacting brain regions within pain and reward circuitry that contribute to negative affect and subjective experience of pain. The emotional component of pain has been argued to be a greater metric of quality of life than its sensory component, and thus understanding the processes that influence this pain characteristic is essential to developing novel treatment strategies for mitigating migraine pain. We emphasize and provide evidence that abnormalities within the mesolimbic cortical reward pathways contribute to migraine pain and that there are structural and functional neuroplasticity within the overlapping brain regions common to both pain and reward.

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