Can A CAT Scan Of My Brain Confirm My Migraine Headaches?

Dr. Kaniecki answers the question: 'CAT Scan Of Brain For Migraines?'

ByABC News
November 11, 2008, 5:08 PM

— -- Question: Can A CAT Scan Of My Brain Confirm My Migraine Headaches?

Answer: For the majority of migraine patients, no specific test documents the presence of migraine. We use the clinical features--the frequency, severity, duration--and the associated features like light or noise, or smell sensitivities, nausea, to make the diagnosis.

A CAT scan or an MRI occasionally shows small little dots, what are known as affectionately as migraine spots. But these small little dots on the scans of migraine sufferers appear not to reflect the cause, and certainly aren't present in every single migraine patient.

But in certain individuals with migraine, there appear to be these little dots, that are sometimes are read as potentially associated with stroke, or potentially associated with multiple sclerosis. Concerning things to patients when they hear about it, but when we see these, the majority of the time they're just benign little spots, looks like little freckles on the surface of the brain, and are seen in migraine patients more often than non-migraine patients, completely benign, and not necessarily indicative of anything but the fact that migraines are present.

So, not diagnostic, only sometimes seen, but when they are seen, not very concerning to us at all.

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