Scientists have for the first time pinpointed genes that are linked with migraine.
The researchers, examining the genetic profile of more than 50,000 people, came up with new insights into what triggers the attacks, opening the door to new treatments.
The international team found that patients with a particular DNA variant between two genes on Chromosome 8 — PGCP and MTDH/AEG-1 — have a significantly greater risk for developing migraine, reports The Telegraph.
The results suggest that such patients accumulate a chemical known as glutamate in nerve cell connections of the brain, which may trigger migraine attacks, according to the journal Nature Genetics.
Prevention of the glutamate build-up may provide a promising target for new treatments to ease the burden of the disease.
Migraine affects one in six women and one in 12 men, arguably the most expensive brain disorder in the European Union and the U.S.
A U.S. report measures its economic costs — mainly from time lost at work — as similar to those of diabetes, and WHO lists it as one of the top 20 diseases with years lived with disability.
“This is the first time we have been able to peer into the genomes of many thousands of people and find genetic clues to understand common migraine,” said Aarno Palotie, chair of the International Headache Genetics Consortium at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Britain, which spearheaded the study.