RSNA 2017: Sodium MRI shows differences in cerebrospinal fluid of migraine patients

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Researchers using sodium MRI to examine migraine patients found that their cerebrospinal flued had significantly higher concentrations of sodium, according to a Nov. 28 presentation at RSNA 2017 in Chicago.

The findings could help diagnose migraine, which is commonly untreated or mistakenly treated in patients who have different types of headaches.

“It would be helpful to have a diagnostic tool supporting or even diagnosing migraine and differentiating migraine from all other types of headaches,” said study author Melissa Meyer, MD, radiology resident at University Hospital Mannheim and Heidelberg University in Heidelberg, Germany, in a statement.

Meyer and colleagues used an MRI technique that visualized sodium instead of protons. Studying 12 women who had been evaluated for migraine and 12 control individuals, the team administered a questionnaire about the headaches. The 24 participants then underwent sodium MRI.

Sodium levels did not differ in the two groups. Researchers did note significant variances in sodium concertation in cerebrospinal fluid, which ensures chemical stability.

“These findings might facilitate the challenging diagnosis of a migraine,” Meyer said. “As this was an exploratory study, we plan to examine more patients, preferably during or shortly after a migraine attack, for further validation.”