Adult Migraine

Study Goals

This study is designed to evaluate pain processes in the Central Nervous System (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord, of people who experience migraine episodes versus healthy controls.

The CNS differences between patients that have frequent migraine attacks and those that remain fairly migraine free are not known.  Quantifying these differences during the interictal migraine phase (period in-between migraine attacks) can shed light onto resilience factors, the progression of the migraines and treatment resistance. We hope to provide a biomarker for abnormal CNS circuits in migraine patients and thus increase our ability to test the efficacy of migraine medications during patients’ non-migrine state.

Our Approach

This study involves a series of questionnaires as well as a brain scan using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in order to measure anatomical, function and neurochemical differences in the brains of migrainers versus healthy controls.

Eligibility to Participate

We are looking for male and female migrainers ages 18-50 as well as healthy participants. Please contact Danielle at 781-216-1199 or by email at for more information on eligibility.

Study Visit Overview

This study takes place at McLean Hospital.  It includes the following:

  1. Upon arrival, there is a consent form and set of questionnaires to complete
  2. We collect a saliva sample and set up a physiological monitor
  3. Next, we conduct a drug and pregnancy test
  4. Then, we put you in the MRI scanner for an hour and a half to look at your brain function while you complete a set of visual, breaking and attention exercises.
  5. Just remember to stay still and be relaxed!


For a completed study visit, the compensation is $200.  If for some reason you are not able to complete the study visit, we will give you $50 for every hour you are at McLean Hospital.


This study is supported by the NIH.


To learn more about this study, please email