Genetic link found for the common migraine

Jenny Decker RN's picture
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What do auras, the neurotransmitter glutamate, environmental triggers, and new research have in common? The first ever link found to the common migraine headache. Other research has been done on more rare types of migraines, but this time, research has focused in on the common type. The description of a common migraine includes the ones with auras, such as flashing lights, vision loss, and abnormal sensations before the oncoming attack. This is thought to be the dilating of blood vessels in the area of the brain where the attack begins.

So what is the cause of the headache? Well, it is thought to be a build up of the neurotransmitter glutamate. The gene found to affect this build up is called rs1835740. This genetic variant is thought to disrupt the process of removing the glutamate from certain areas of the brain.It is thought that glutamate may be responsible for the auras experiencing prior to a migraine. Other disorders that have been found to have accumulation of the neurotransmitter include schizophrenia and epilepsy.

30 million Americans suffer from migraines

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According to the National Headache Foundation, 30 million Americans suffer from migraines, with women being more often affected than men. It is a neurological disorder that is obviously characterized by severe headaches. 300 people worldwide experience these migraines on a daily basis. The study was conducted twice in order to compare results. It was shown with the study that the participants with migraines were more likely to possess rs1835740.

With this discovery, possible therapies may be developed to treat the underlying cause of the common migraine. Other areas of research that will most likely be done in the future may help determine if there are other genetic variants involved in migraines. According to experts, it is believed that this gene may make one susceptible to the severe headaches, not necessarily cause the headache itself. Other factors may play roles in the common migraine. It is nice to note that research is taking place that will help determine future therapies for these severe headaches.

Genetic Risk Factor for Migraine Discovered

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