Written by Sadie Wirthlin
Migraines are the third most prevalent illness in the world and affect an average of at least one person in every one of four US households. Often perceived as “bad headaches,” migraines are much more than that, and if you have had one before, you know it! Migraines cause intense throbbing throughout the head and may be accompanied with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to sound and vision problems. There’s a reason that migraines can be one of the most painful and day-paralyzing experiences.
Several studies have been done trying to pin point why migraines occur and how to prevent them. Research varies per person, and each places blame on things such as diet, genetics and deficiencies. Although these factors may play a role, a recent study dives in a little deeper and makes an unexpected discovery.
A team of researchers at the International Headache Genetics Consortium (IHGC) took thousands of adults who suffer from migraines and studied their genetics; they then compared their findings to those who don’t suffer from migraines. Their results: 28 new genetic variants associated with migraines. Not only that, but researchers also found that the majority of these genetic variants overlapped with genes that regulate the vascular system, or that have been linked to vascular disease. This indicates that migraines can occur due to impaired blood vessel function.
Members of the IHGC are hopeful that this new information will be used to inspire additional studies and lead the way to finding personalized, evidence-based treatment for those who suffer from migraines. This discovery is the first substantial step towards really helping individuals with this illness.
Source: Migraine: Discovery of new genetic risk variants supports a vascular cause. Honor Whiteman. June 25, 2016. Medicalnewstoday.com