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Genetic defect found to cause migraines

Published on 27/09/2010
Migraine sufferers have been given hope of access to new gene-based treatments that could be available through private medical cover in the future.

Scientists have discovered a faulty gene that they believe is responsible for causing the headaches.

Researchers at the University of Oxford, along with colleagues in Canada, analysed DNA samples from migraine sufferers and their families.

Their results, published in the journal Nature Medicine, revealed that if a gene called Tresk is defective it can trigger pain nerves in the brain and cause a severe headache.

It has long been suspected that genes play a role in migraines, with numerous sufferers often coming from the same family.

However, until now, the genes directly responsible for migraines have been unknown.
Dr Zameel Cader, from the Medical Research Council's Functional Genomics Unit at the University of Oxford, said:

"Previous studies have identified parts of our DNA that increase the risk in the general population, but have not found genes which can be directly responsible for common migraine.

"What we've found is that migraines seem to depend on how excitable our nerves are in specific parts of the brain."
Migraines affect around 15 per cent of adults in the UK and are more common in women.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010


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