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Putting Our Heads Together: Largest Genetic Study of Migraine To Date

With spring approaching (regardless of what the groundhogs may say!), many migraine sufferers might soon be reaching for their ibuprofen. Migraine are the third most common disease in the world, affecting 25% of women, 8% of men and 10% of children in Canada.

Despite its prevalence, the cause of migraine remains unknown. Previous research has shown genetic factors contribute significantly to migraine risk; however, researchers from the International Headache Genetics Consortium have recently conducted a genome-wide association study looking for common genetic variants among people with migraines.

The results revealed three genetic variants specific to migraine with aura and two that appear specific to migraine without aura. Variants were related to both neuronal and vascular genes, strengthening the view of migraine as a neurovascular disorder.

Interestingly, two of the gene regions identified encode targets for recently developed migraine-specific pharmaceuticals: CALCA/CALCB and HTR1F. With the results from this study, there’s hope these new gene associations will provide additional drug targets for promising new therapies!



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