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Migraine Sufferers, Help May Be on the way…For Good

andy_bernay-roman, Flickr

If you have ever had a migraine, you know how dibilitating that they can be. However, if you suffer with them on a regular basis, help is on the way.

A team of California researchers say they’ve discovered a genetic mutation that’s linked to migraines.

“This is the first gene in which mutations have been shown to cause a very typical form of migraine. It’s our initial glimpse into a black box that we don’t yet understand.”
Scientists studied the genes of two migraine-prone families and found that most of the family members who had migraines shared a particular mutation. They used lab tests to confirm that the mutation had biochemical effects, then tested it on mice. Then they got into things like “cortical spreading depression” and “astrocyte functioning,” explained Senior investigator Louis J. Ptacek.

While the numbers are small for who suffer with migraines, 10-20% if the US population is a significant number of people, with a majority of those who suffer being women.

The most common symptom of a migraine is severe headache, but they can also cause nausea, sensitivity to stimuli such as light or sound, and a strange aura.

So the nice part is that life could get a lot easier for migraine sufferers.

The research “puts us one step closer to understanding the molecular pathway to pain in migraine,” he said. “And, as we come to a clearer understanding, we can start thinking about better therapies. Certain molecules might be targets for new drugs.” There are good drugs now, said Ptáček, “but they only help some patients, some of the time. The need for better treatments is huge.”

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