Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychological intervention that involves development of coping strategies to reduce the experience of pain. Although CBT is a promising intervention to reduce headache days in patients with migraine, it may not be effective for all patients. Thus, there is a need to identify markers that could predict which patients will respond to CBT. We aimed to determine if baseline brain function and amygdalar connectivity, assessed by fMRI, or pain modulation capacities, assessed by the conditioned pain modulation (CPM) response, can predict a reduction in headache days after CBT in adolescents with migraine. Patients with migraine (n = 20; age range 10-17 years) completed 8 weekly CBT sessions. The CPM response was examined in the trapezius and the leg. Headache days significantly decreased after CBT (p<0.001). Greater functional connectivity before CBT between the right amygdala and frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, and precentral gyrus was related to greater headache reduction after CBT. Greater reduction in headache days after CBT was related with less efficient CPM response before CBT at the trapezius (r=-0.492, p=0.028) but not at the leg. This study found that headache reduction after CBT was related to right amygdala connectivity with frontal and sensorimotor regions at baseline as well as baseline pain modulation capacities. These findings suggest that individual differences in brain function and pain modulation can be associated with clinical improvements and help with determination of CBT responsiveness.

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