How Your Genes May Play a Role in Headache Diagnosis

By Annette GallagherMarch 29, 2016July 6th, 2021No Comments

Those who suffer from incapacitating migraines may be able to blame their genes. Anyone who gets migraines probably has a close relative who suffers from them, too, perhaps a mother, a grandmother, a sister, or a cousin. Scientists can now prove that our genes make us more or less susceptible to developing migraines.

Genes and Headaches

Most headaches are a result of genetic and environmental factors. While we can change our environmental triggers (bright lights, strong smells, avoiding certain foods), we cannot change the genes with which we were born.

However, now that science has discovered the link between genetics and migraines, they can develop new drugs that target specific genes in order to alleviate, perhaps even cure, these terrible chronic headaches.

Inheriting Migraines

Inheritance, then, plays a significant role in the development of migraines and other types of headaches.

Scientists have discovered five sections of genetic code that are linked to migraines. Some of these sections were near genes that are involved in brain circuitry. This discovery may help scientists discover what triggers these headaches and help them find treatments.

Today, migraines affect nearly one in four women and one in 12 men. Migraines were listed as the seventh most common disabler in the Global Burden of Disease Survey 2010.

Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England, studied the results of 29 different migraine studies. These studies included over 100,000 patients and they had samples from the genomes of migraine sufferers as well as healthy “control” subjects. The researchers were able to identify 12 different sections of genetic code where migraine sufferers shared common variations.

Researchers said the study advanced their understandings of the causes of migraines and may help reveal what makes some people more susceptible to these headaches than others.

The researchers noted that many of the genes in genetic regions linked to migraines are likely to be connected to one another and they stated that these connections may affect the way tissues and cells are controlled in the brain, which could be the cause of migraines.

These studies could give scientists the insights they need to understand these debilitating headaches and find ways to cure, or at least control, them.

National Headache Institute

We at the Miami Headache Institute understand how debilitating migraines can be for sufferers. We offer our patients a number of treatment options for their headaches and will work with you to discover the best method to relieve your pain and prevent migraines from recurring. Please contact us today to schedule your consultation with our headache specialists.