Scientists have found a link between certain types of migraine and a certain variant of DNA. This is the first time a genetic risk factor has been associated with migraines. Scientists say that this could lead to new therapies to help with the attacks.
A team of international scientists examined the DNA of around 50,000 people. They found that patients who had a certain variant of DNA on Chromosome 8 between two different genes had an increased risk of having migraine attacks. According to the scientists, this specific DNA variant functions to regulate levels of the chemical glutamate, which can pass messages from nerve cell to nerve cell inside the brain.
According to the Health and Medicine Journal, this suggests that a build-up of the variant in junctions of nerve cells could be the cause of migraine attacks. According to Dr. Aarno Palotie, this study was only possible with international collaboration on a very large scale. He also stated that this could open “new doors to understand common diseases”.
By comparing the genomes of several thousand people from several European countries who get migraines with genomes of over 10,000 people who do not, they were able to make comparisons and detect differences in the two groups. A second test was later done in order to confirm their findings, where over 40,000 healthy people were compared to a second group of 3,000 migraine patients.
According to Christian Kubisch, the co-author of the study, the findings of the research will allow scientists to look “in depth at the biology of the disease” in further studies. With the knowledge gained from this study, scientists may soon be able to develop a way to prevent migraines.