21 Jun 2016

Genetic study finds underlying cause of migraines

From Nine To Noon, 9:25 am on 21 June 2016

A huge genetic study of migraine sufferers has revealed dozens of new genes associated with the debilitating condition and could open up new opportunities for treatment.


Photo: 123RF

It's estimated about one in five people suffer from migraines which can come in a bewildering variety of forms and severities.

A long-running argument among clinicians is whether the disease is primarily caused by problems in the brain, or whether it also involves misfunctioning circulatory systems.

That question appears to have been answered by a study of 60,000 migraine patients which found 38 areas of DNA associated with migraines, 28 of which had never been identified before.

The location of those genes suggest the vascular problems in migraine sufferers occur independently of the neurological problems.

One of the authors of the study is Associate Professor Dale Nyholt from Queensland University of Technology.

He talks to Kathryn Ryan.