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New Biological Causes of Migraines

New research has discovered biological causes of migraine by identifying several different genetic regions that are responsible for triggering the attacks.

Migraines are classed as the 7th disabler in the Global Burden of Disease Survey 2010.  They affect more than 14% of adults and have been increasingly difficult to study. 

In this most recent study, a team managed to identify 12 different genetic regions which play a role in the risk of migraine. Eight of the regions control brain circuitries and two maintain healthy brain tissue. A person's genetic susceptibility to getting migraines may have to do with the regulation of these pathways. 

Dr. Aarno Palotie, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said that "Migraine and epilepsy are particularly difficult neural conditions to study; between episodes the patient is basically healthy so it's extremely difficult to uncover biochemical clues."

For this study, researchers gathered data from 29 different genomic studies, which included 100,000 migraine and control samples and compared the results.

The susceptible regions were near an area of genes that are very sensitive to oxidative stress which results in the cells not functioning properly. Scientists believe that the genes located in these genetic regions are interconnected and could disrupt the regulation of cells inside the brain, leading to migraine symptoms. 

Dr. Mark Daly, from the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, concluded:

         "This approach is the most efficient way of revealing the underlying biology of these neural disorders. Effective studies that give us biological or biochemical results and insights are essential if we are to fully get to grips with this debilitating condition. 

          Pursuing these studies in even larger samples and with denser maps of biological markers will increase our power to determine the roots and triggers of this disabling disorder."

June is Migraine Awareness Month
Surprising Things You Don't Know About Migraines


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Monday, 20 August 2018