Cortical hot spots and labyrinths: why cortical neuromodulation for episodic migraine with aura should be personalized

Markus A. Dahlem, Bernd Schmidt, Ingo Bojak, Sebastian Boie, Frederike Kneer, Nouchine Hadjikhani, Jurgen Kurths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Stimulation protocols for medical devices should be rationally designed. For episodic migraine with aura we outline model-based design strategies toward preventive and acute therapies using stereotactic cortical neuromodulation. To this end, we regard a localized spreading depression (SD) wave segment as a central element in migraine pathophysiology. To describe nucleation and propagation features of the SD wave segment, we define the new concepts of cortical hot spots and labyrinths, respectively. In particular, we firstly focus exclusively on curvature-induced dynamical properties by studying a generic reaction-diffusion model of SD on the folded cortical surface. This surface is described with increasing level of details, including finally personalized simulations using patient's magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner readings. At this stage, the only relevant factor that can modulate nucleation and propagation paths is the Gaussian curvature, which has the advantage of being rather readily accessible by MRI. We conclude with discussing further anatomical factors, such as areal, laminar, and cellular heterogeneity, that in addition to and in relation to Gaussian curvature determine the generalized concept of cortical hot spots and labyrinths as target structures for neuromodulation. Our numerical simulations suggest that these target structures are like fingerprints, they are individual features of each migraine sufferer. The goal in the future will be to provide individualized neural tissue simulations. These simulations should predict the clinical data and therefore can also serve as a test bed for exploring stereotactic cortical neuromodulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Early online date5 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF 01GQ1109 and BMBF 01GQ1001A).


  • migraine
  • reaction-diffusion
  • spreading depression
  • gyrification
  • neuromodulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Cortical hot spots and labyrinths: why cortical neuromodulation for episodic migraine with aura should be personalized'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this