Genetic breakthrough for migraine sufferers

  MRI of a migraine

Migraine is the most common cause of episodic headache, and by far the most common neurological cause of a doctor’s visit. It affects some 15% of the world’s population.

Researchers from Helsinki University, Finland and the Sanger Institute, UK were able for the first time to convincingly demonstrate a genomic locus to be linked to migraine susceptibility in two diverse populations – 1700 patients from 210 Finnish and Australian families. This is especially interesting as Finnish and Australian populations are genetically distant.  It also tied together previous research, resulting in very robust evidence for pinpointing the susceptibility region.

Researchers identified one gene locus on chromosome 10q23, which showed significant evidence of genetic linkage in both populations studied as well as in the replication study. The gene locus was especially strongly linked to female migraine sufferers.

According to the researchers, this study gives new hope to deciphering the migraine pathways and therefore discovering targets for future treatments, as well as discovering the first migraine gene variants.

Elaine Warburton

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