World’s first research reveals complex relationship between migraine, genetics and brain size

More effective treatments for people with debilitating migraines are one step closer thanks to the world’s first genetic research into the causes of the painful condition.

Around one in four Australians suffer from migraine and experience symptoms including severe and prolonged headache, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound and brain fog. Symptoms can last from hours to weeks and even months. Women are twice as likely to be affected.

Apart from the distressing impact on patients, migraine costs the Australian economy over $35 billion each year, but there are still many unknowns about the biological causes of this complex disease, approximately half of all patients unresponsive to treatment.

A study by QIMR Berghofer researcher Dr Brittany Mitchell, published in the journal Brainshowed for the first time the genetic links between brain size and migraine risk.

“Our research has found that smaller brain size and smaller structures in the brain, such as the hippocampus and amygdala, lead to an increased risk of migraine, and this may be due to shared biological pathways that affect neural signaling or the regulation of blood flow,” Dr. Mitchell said.

“Migraine is a difficult disorder to treat, so it’s very exciting that our research has led to a better understanding of the biology of migraine, which we hope will lead to more effective treatments.”

“I personally know how debilitating migraines are because I suffer from them myself. Any measure aimed at relieving patients is always very exciting and positive. »

The research was made possible by genetic data from hundreds of thousands of participants from two multinational research collaborations – the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis Consortium (ENIGMA) and the International Headache Genetics Consortium (IHGC).

Co-author of the study, Professor Dale Nyholt of the QUT Center for Genomics and Personalized Health is a world authority on the genetics of migraine and an IHGC leader.

He said identifying these new findings about the causal genetic links of migraine opens up new avenues of research.

“This latest research shows how vital research collaboration combined with the wealth of genetic data and analysis from IHGC and ENIGMA can increase understanding of the complex genetic causes of migraine with the ultimate goal of providing better treatments. to patients and even one day be able to prevent this disorder,” Professor Nyholt said.

QIMR Berghofer genetic epidemiologist and study co-author Dr. Miguel Rentería said the next step would be to further investigate the genes discovered that are shared between brain structure and migraine risk and also investigate whether these genes are responsible for differences in migraine risk. between women and men.

“For the first time, we can see that some of the genes that influence brain size may also increase migraine risk, and that this in turn is likely due to vascular regulation. We now want to investigate these shared genetic pathways to determine whether increasing blood flow, for example, could reduce the risk of migraine, thereby opening up new treatment possibilities,” said Dr. Rentería.

The study was published in the journal Brain and can be accessed via this link

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors.View Full here.

#Worlds #research #reveals #complex #relationship #migraine #genetics #brain #size

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *