Structural and functional footprint of visual snow syndrome

Christoph J. Schankin, Farooq H. Maniyar, Denise E. Chou, Michael Eller, Till Sprenger, Peter J. Goadsby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Patients with visual snow syndrome suffer from a continuous pan-field visual disturbance, additional visual symptoms, tinnitus, and non-perceptional symptoms. The pathophysiology of visual symptoms might involve dysfunctional visual cortex. So far, the extra-visual system has not been investigated. We aimed at identifying structural and functional correlates for visual and non-visual symptoms in visual snow syndrome. Patients were compared to age- and sex-matched controls using 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose PET (n = 20 per group) and voxel-based morphometry (n = 17 per group). Guided by the PET results, region of interest analysis was done in voxel-based morphometry to identify structural-functional correspondence. Grey matter volume was assessed globally. Patients had corresponding hypermetabolism and cortical volume increase in the extrastriate visual cortex at the junction of the right lingual and fusiform gyrus. There was hypometabolism in the right superior temporal gyrus and the left inferior parietal lobule. Patients had grey matter volume increases in the temporal and limbic lobes and decrease in the superior temporal gyrus. The corresponding structural and functional alterations emphasize the relevance of the visual association cortex for visual snow syndrome. The broad structural and functional footprint, however, confirms the clinical impression that the disorder extends beyond the visual system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1113
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Migraine
  • Non-visual symptoms
  • Visual snow
  • Voxel-based morphometry


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