According to research, migraine is the third most prevalent illness worldwide, and the largest genetics study to date. Researchers have uncovered 28 new genetic variants that may lead to the development of migraine. Even now, though, the real causes of migraine unfortunately have not been ascertained.
One of the outcomes of the study showed that many of the genetic variants are either inside or nearby genes. These genes most likely govern or have an attachment to vascular disease. This research study was published in Nature Genetic.
The study research team was comprised of members of the International Headache Genetics Consortium (IHGC). In further evidence of their research, it was revealed that impaired blood vessel function can cause the emergence of migraines.
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, around 1 in 4 households in the United States include someone who experiences Migraine.
A migraine is typically seen as a bad headache, but, in reality, it is more than that. Migraine victims experience throbbing on one or both sides of the head which is sometimes accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to sound and light, possible visual problems, numbness of face, or tingling.
In some cases, the symptoms can become so severe that the victim needs to visit the hospital; the duration of the symptoms could be from 4-72 hours. The number of migraine attack victims that visit the emergency room each year is around 1.2 million.
Treatment right now for migraines is focused on the alleviation of symptoms, but this does not work for everyone. This is because the causes of migraines have not yet been determined, and introducing new cure or treatment could be a very difficult task.
Professor Aarno Palotie, a co-author of the new study and the leader of the IHGC, and his team revealed that their findings could take us closer to finding a permanent cure.
The team carried out an analysis of the DNA of 59,674 adults from Europe, the United States, and Australia with migraines, and compared it with the DNA of 316,078 adults without migraines. The research result showed a total of 38 genetic variants associated with migraine (resource no longer available at www.nature .com). Of the 38 variants reported, 28 had never been reported.
The research team is hopeful that this discovery will pave way for permanent treatment.
“These genetic findings are the first concrete step towards developing personalized, evidence-based treatments for this very complex disease. We doctors have known for a long time that migraine patients differ from each other and the drugs that work for some patients are completely inefficient for others.
In the future, we hope that this information can be utilized in dividing the patients into different genetic susceptibility groups for clinical drug trials, thus increasing the chances of identifying the best possible treatment for each subgroup.”
- Co-author Professor John-Anker Zwart, Oslo University Hospital, Norway