Facebook Pixel

New Research on Migraines Links Three Gene Variations

Rate This
Migraine  related image Photo: Getty Images

If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know you’ll do anything to prevent having one again. The pulsing and throbbing pain, the nausea and sensitivity to light and sound is enough to make anyone want to curl up in a dark corner and cry.

According to Medline Plus, migraines are three times more likely to occur in women than in men.

Thankfully, scientists are getting closer each day to understanding what exactly causes migraines and how we can prevent or manage them.

In a recent study published in the June 12 issue of Nature Genetics, researchers identified three gene variations linked to migraines and headaches.

The researchers said that anyone who inherits any one of three genes has a 10 to 15 percent greater risk for developing the condition.

The researchers, comprised of doctors from Harvard Medical School and NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, examined genetic data from more than 23,000 women, including over 5,000 migraine sufferers.

The doctors unveiled an association between the headaches and variations in three genes: TRPM8 (which plays a role in sensitivity to cold and pain), LRP1 (a gene involved in the transmission of signals between neurons) and PRDM16.

For years, doctors believed migraines were most commonly a multi-genetic condition with potentially many genetic variations that contribute. Now they believe the cause is related to genes that control the activity of some brain cells, and in identifying the three gene variations, can better help the researchers find ways to manage migraines.

The team said that doctors have always known migraines to be a genetic disorder, but these findings now tell us it is a neurological one as well.

Medicines can help prevent migraine attacks or help relieve symptoms of attacks when they happen, but understanding the origin of migraines is a very encouraging step.

The researchers noted that although the findings are encouraging, they say more research is needed to better understand exactly how each of these three genes is associated with migraine.

They’re getting closer to tapping into the origin and causes of migraines, so it’s just a matter of time before they become manageable and preventable.

Scientists Identify Genes Linked to Migraines

Medline Plus: Migraines

Nature Genetics Journal

Reviewed June 13, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton

Bailey Mosier is a freelance journalist living in Winter Park, Florida. She received a Masters of Journalism from Arizona State University, played D-I golf, has been editor of a Scottsdale-based golf magazine and currently contributes to GolfChannel.com. She aims to live an active, healthy lifestyle full of sunshine and smiles.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

The genes your mama gave you definately pre-dispose you to certain things - cancer, obesity, migraines. But environmental factors play a huge role, including what you do to be healthy. Are you active? Eat healthy? Drink plenty of water? Genetics are just one piece in the puzzle of you and your health. Check out this fantastic blog for easy, simple health tips: blog.mydiscoverhealth.com/

June 14, 2011 - 7:43am
EmpowHER Guest

Here's how I get the latest research on migraines that's published on Medline Plus (which, by the way, is very hard to search). I clicked on “Instant Answer” at the website MedInfoNow, typed in “migraine” in the “Search All Fields” text box, expanded the search from May 2011 – June 2011 to Jan 2011 – June 2011, and restricted the search to “Recommended Journals.” Constructing this search took less than 30 seconds and gave me a search result of 22 articles the titles of which I could scan in less than a minute. I noticed 4 were “review articles,” so I limited the search to those 4. All four articles seem interesting, but click here to read the abstract of the most pertinent article from the search, http://bit.ly/iBokR9

June 14, 2011 - 6:59am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



Get Email Updates

Migraine Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!