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Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Physiology - Women's Health


Gender-Related Differences in the Dysfunctional Resting Networks of Migraine Suffers
Published: Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Author: Jixin Liu et al.

by Jixin Liu, Wei Qin, Jiaofen Nan, Jing Li, Kai Yuan, Ling Zhao, Fang Zeng, Jinbo Sun, Dahua Yu, Minghao Dong, Peng Liu, Karen M. von Deneen, Qiyong Gong, Fanrong Liang, Jie Tian

Background

Migraine shows gender-specific incidence and has a higher prevalence in females. However, little is known about gender-related differences in dysfunctional brain organization, which may account for gender-specific vulnerability and characteristics of migraine. In this study, we considered gender-related differences in the topological property of resting functional networks.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Data was obtained from 38 migraine patients (18 males and 20 females) and 38 healthy subjects (18 males and 20 females). We used the graph theory analysis, which becomes a powerful tool in investigating complex brain networks on a whole brain scale and could describe functional interactions between brain regions. Using this approach, we compared the brain functional networks between these two groups, and several network properties were investigated, such as small-worldness, network resilience, nodal centrality, and interregional connections. In our findings, these network characters were all disrupted in patients suffering from chronic migraine. More importantly, these functional damages in the migraine-affected brain had a skewed balance between males and females. In female patients, brain functional networks showed worse resilience, more regions exhibited decreased nodal centrality, and more functional connections revealed abnormalities than in male patients.

Conclusions

These results indicated that migraine may have an additional influence on females and lead to more dysfunctional organization in their resting functional networks.

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