Why Migraineurs Get Vertigo

Their brains are wired differently. Vestibular symptoms, mainly vertigo and nausea, are seen in 75% in people with migraine, even when they don’t have a headache. A new study showed that increased activity in certain brain regions may explain these common symptoms.

The researchers used a simulated roller-coaster ride while patients were undergoing a functional MRI, which, unlike a standard MRI, shows brain activation. Earbuds conveyed the sound of the car on the rails. The videos provided a first-person perspective. Dizziness and nausea were reported in 65% of people with migraine, versus 30% in those without.

Specific activation of areas in the cerebellum and frontal gyrus were seen on the functional MRI. Migraine patients processed visual inputs differently than controls.

These findings may not immediately lead to treatment, but they at least give migraineurs the respect and understanding that they deserve.

See the article by Carvalho et al in Neurology, July 2021.

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