The Cerebral Cortex – Dr. Todd Schwedt

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Fascinating article…by Nancy Bonk on Health Central

“Another study used a white moving dot pattern on a black background to visually stimulate the subjects, showing the Migraine group had a stronger activation in the middle temporal complex (motion sensitive region) compared to the non-Migraine group. These studies support the idea that Migraineurs have enhanced reaction to light and motion stimuli in addition to having thicker cortex in the visual motion processing centers of the brain compared to non-Migraineurs.”

Yep… that relation I can understand since I am really hypersensitive to both light and motion. Both of which persistent beyond the migraine but are obviously worse with one.

Dr. Schwedt rounded out his session discussing how a Migraineur “co-processes” different stimuli and that Migraine itself is multisensory integration that has “gone wrong.” He went on to explain what multisensory integration is:

“sensory-specific brain responses and perceptual judgments of incoming sensory stimuli which concern one sense may be modulated by relations with other senses.”


This means, our brains can take in many sensory stimuli (visual, olfactory, auditory and somatosensory) at the same time and process them simultaneously – we don’t process one type of stimuli at a time. He thinks this is important because Migraineurs with osmophobia seem to have a higher attack frequency and are found to be photophobic. If Migraineurs are hypersensitive to light they may also be sensitive to odors and have a hyper reactive trigeminal system. One study that measured pain thresholds in a group of Migraineurs who were not experiencing a Migraine and were exposed to bright light, became more sensitive after exposure when their pain thresholds were re-measured. This did not happen in the control group.”


Again, isn’t that interesting to note? How the stimulus gets tangled up? Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it? Certainly, it seems that our senses are hyper-aware during a migraine. That super sense of smell, photophobia, super hearing… too much of everything. And I am definitely photophobic and have been for decades. And odors… but that is an FM thing too.



  1. wow! this is me, too.

    one of my neuros (!) said something interesting to me once – i said that i thought migraine was part of fibro because of the crossover, he said that he thought it was more likely to be the other way round!

    fibro with migraine is so weird.


  2. I have to admit migraines with FM is weird. They get so tangled up. We Are so sensitive to sound, light, touch and chemicals… of course they are huge triggers… just like Sleep issues. And it is no wonder so many of us go chronic with our migraines as well because of the nature of how FM pain works… it is just designed to make us sensitive to all pain stimulus so we will eventually become more sensitive to triggers and migraine pain. That whole central sensitization thing. So I'm always disappointed that so many neuros don't understand FM and treat them together… but FM is a mysterious beast. Still this migraine research is interesting in that is shows the migraine brain is processing stimulus differently… which is no news to us with FM, our brains are so special that way anyways!


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