Genetic testing may help in severe type of migraine

Genetic testing may help in severe type of migraine

Reuters Health

Monday, December 3, 2007

By Anthony J. Brown, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who suffer from sporadic
hemiplegic migraine (SHM) – a rare, often severe subtype of migraine
in which attacks are associated with a weakness affecting one side of
the body – may want to consider genetic testing, researchers

Their suggestion is based on a study in which they found “familial
genes” for this type of migraine in people who did not have family
members experiencing the problem.

“Normally one starts searching for genes only in families in which
several family members have a disease,” Dr. Michel D. Ferrari, from
Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, told Reuters
Health. “This is the first study looking for genes in patients with a
severe type of migraine but without similarly affected family
members. The study shows that genes are important even in so called
sporadic migraine patients.”

Ferrari and colleagues performed genetic testing on 39 men and women
with SHM. The study subjects, who had no known family members with
this type of migraine, were screened for mutations in three genes
that have been linked tohemiplegic migraine that runs in families:
the CACNA1A gene, the ATPIA2 gene, and the SCN1A gene.

The researchers found variants of these three genes in 18 percent of
the study subjects.

Ferrari noted that most people with SHM are “initially diagnosed with
epilepsy, stroke or other disorders and are treated accordingly with
non-effective medications that are associated with a high risk of
side effects rather than with effective agents to treat migraine.”

Genetic testing in people with this type of sporadic migraine may
help to enable counseling and prevent unnecessary treatment with
potentially harmful drugs, the researchers suggest.

SOURCE: Neurology, December 4, 2007.

just passing this on from the MDds site.


December 20, 2007

Thanks for this brief, informative article. This is most helpful. :slight_smile: