New risk factors for migraines discovered

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World's most comprehensive study with 100,000 subjects: Researchers discover new risk factors for migraines

Based on a study with over 100,000 subjects, researchers have now discovered new genetic risk factors for migraines. However, these causes are only responsible for a small part of the disease risk.

14 percent of adults suffer from migraines Migraines are a relatively widespread condition, although the symptoms vary greatly in those affected. While some patients only complain of slight dizziness, nausea and massive headaches, the typical migraine symptoms are much more severe in other sufferers and they also have to struggle with so-called aura symptoms. The exact causes of the disease have not yet been clearly clarified. However, it can be assumed that in addition to environmental factors and lifestyle, genetic factors also play an important role in the development of migraines. Now an international team of researchers has discovered such genetic risk factors and are therefore hoping for more targeted treatment approaches.

The scientists have identified five new regions that are to be jointly responsible for the development of migraines. Over 100,000 subjects took part in the study, which was presented in the specialist journal "Nature Genetics" (New York). About 14 percent of adults are reported to have migraines, the attacks of which can be associated with severe nausea and vomiting. Co-author Prof. Hartmut Göbel from the Migraine and Headache Center at the Pain Clinic Kiel, said that the genes are functionally important for the control of neurotransmitters and nerve regulation in the brain. "On this basis, the development of new treatment methods that precisely intervene in the mechanisms of migraines can now take place."

Hoping for new and targeted treatment methods In the investigations, the roughly 100 participating researchers analyzed data from 29 genome studies with 23,285 migraine patients and 95,425 control persons. According to the scientists, this was the most comprehensive study to date on the genetic factors of migraines. The president of the German Migraine and Headache Society, Prof. Andreas Straube, said that the previously discovered genetic causes could explain about 20 to 30 percent of the risk of developing the disease. In their study, together with the five newly discovered, the researchers describe a total of twelve regions in the genome of migraine sufferers that are jointly responsible for the risk of developing the disease. Eight of the regions are reported to have been found near genes that play a role in brain circuit control. Two others are responsible for maintaining normal brain and nerve cell function. The control of these circuits, according to the Pain Clinic in Kiel, is significant for the genetic risk of developing migraines. "A particular challenge will now be to clarify in detail which molecular mechanisms are actually at the basis of this genetic disposition," says co-author Christian Kubisch from the Ulm Institute of Human Genetics. Then there is hope that new and more targeted treatment approaches could be developed )

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