Migraine cause - genetic defect

This was on the news this morning.

Migraine cause ‘identified’ as genetic defect
Migraines cause throbbing pain Scientists have identified a genetic defect linked to migraine which could provide a target for new treatments.

A flawed gene found in a family of migraine sufferers could help trigger the severe headaches, a study in Nature Medicine suggests.

Dr Zameel Cader of the University of Oxford said the discovery was a step forward in understanding why one in five people suffer from migraines.

The World Health Organization rates it as a leading cause of disability.

27 September 2010 Last updated at 09:15 Share this pageFacebookTwitter ShareEmail Print Migraine cause ‘identified’ as genetic defect
Migraines cause throbbing pain Scientists have identified a genetic defect linked to migraine which could provide a target for new treatments.

A flawed gene found in a family of migraine sufferers could help trigger the severe headaches, a study in Nature Medicine suggests.

Dr Zameel Cader of the University of Oxford said the discovery was a step forward in understanding why one in five people suffer from migraines.

The World Health Organization rates it as a leading cause of disability.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote
We have now made a major step forward in our understanding of why people suffer with migraine.”
End Quote
Dr Zameel Cader,

MRC
A migraine is a severe, long-lasting headache usually felt as a throbbing pain at the front or on one side of the head.

Some can have a warning visual disturbance, called an aura, before the start of the headache, and many people also have symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light during the headache itself.

Until now, the genes directly responsible for migraine have been unknown.

In this study, scientists including some from the Medical Research Council’s Functional Genomics Unit at the University of Oxford found a gene known as TRESK was directly attributable as a cause of migraine in some patients.

The study found that if the gene does not work properly, environmental factors can more easily trigger pain centres in the brain and cause a severe headache.

The international team used DNA samples from families with common migraine to identify the defective gene.

‘Activate’ gene

Dr Aarno Palotie, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said the breakthrough could eventually lead to new drugs which could switch off the pain of migraines.

“It opens new avenues for planning new research which possibly could then lead to new treatments… but of course it’s a long road.”

Dr Cader, one of the MRC researchers involved in the study, 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.

“Finding the key player which controls this excitability will give us a real opportunity to find a new way to fight migraines and improve the quality of life for those suffering.”

He told the BBC’s Today programme the research showed the defective gene in migraine patients was under-active, therefore causing the headaches.

“So what we want to do is find a drug that will activate the gene,” he added.

Professor Peter Goadsby, trustee of The Migraine Trust, said: “The identification of a mutation in a gene for the potassium channel in a family with migraine with aura provides both a further important part of the puzzle in understanding the biology of migraine, and a novel direction to consider new therapies in this very disabling condition.”

Christine

It’s great they’ve figured out it’s a genetic defect but I wish they’d figure out that migraine is not just an awful headache (I use the word “just” not to diminish the severity of the pain but because I am FED UP with even the experts still defining migraine as exclusively headache).

Sorry - just a little rant but honestly, it’s hard enough explaining to friends and family that migraine (for me anyway) is just about every horrible symptom you can imagine, except headache, without having to explain it to the professionals.

Well that is good news to hear that it’s making mainstream news and hopefully progress.

Victoria- Agreed!! That is why I had such a hard time accepting I had anything to do with 'migraine" never having experienced that type of headache…or really any type of headache.

Makes sense that it has to do with the “excitatory” part of our brains…as my daily anxiety, for no reason at all, is so uncomfortable, along with the 24/7 dizziness…I was fidning the more Klonapin I was taking, the better
I was getting. I truly don’t think I"m a worry wart, or that type of personality. I just have this underlying anxiety that likes to hang around. I don’t think counseling or any of that stuff will help…I think it’s like people who get phantom pain when there’s no cause for it…it’s like phantom anxiety… does that make any sense at all? :wink:

Kelley

Kelley - that’s it EXACTLY for me re the anxiety. I always feel as though I’m somehow disociated from it in some way - yes I feel anxious, but it’s like someone put it there rather than actually feeling anxious, if you know what I mean?

Gabrielle,
I totally get it…it’s always like just a thought away…I know I can conjure it up if I give it any attention, but I try to just keep busy and ignore it. THe dizziness seems to go hand in hand with it, so when I get really dizzy, then I take the klonapin,and they both go away. I have been on Cymbalta (and now celexa added) for a long time, and even though things are better, it’s still there every day…arrrrrgggghhhhhhhhh
! :roll:

Kelley

Kelley and Gabrielle,

I also know EXACTLY what you mean and you describe it very well. I’ve described it as like “physiological” rather than “psychological” anxiety as it feels completely physical, that is, I don’t feel mentally/emotionally anxious at all. And like you I feel “disassociated” from it for that reason.

I let it go for as long as I can and often it will pass. If it takes too long I find a very low dose of Valium (2.5mg) can kill it.

Vic

Vic and Kelley - you are the first people that haven’t “looked” at me as if I’m mad when I describe it that way. Physiological rather than psychological is EXACTLY how it is.

It’s such a small thing but that’s really made my day - it’s a powerful thing when you feel like people understand you :smiley:

You’re right! It makes a huge difference to feel you’re not alone, you’re understood, and you’re not CRAZY!! :slight_smile:

You know how they have certain meds they can give someone to induce a panic attack? (I think they do this to test meds that counter that reaction)…doesn’t it make sense that somehow the chemistry in our brains is getting triggered
by the confusion/overstimulation/genetic default of being a MAV’er? So I find that I have a great life going on, and yet I wake up with this morning anxiety, and then if it’s really bad, it just starts my day out terrible…I have internal sensations going on like my insides are vibrating…it’s so weird. At least I’m sleeping well these days…there were many times that it took an arsenal to get me to sleep normally.

Have a good one my comrades!!

Kelley

hey Vic , Gabe, Kelly and Christine,
Something I’ve learnt through (18 years is ) sitting quietly through this migriane is, Anxiety/fear/rushes is the number 1 thing after visaul arua, that I feel intensly!!!It’s been a while, I learned this thru some pretty intense attack’s a while back,
It happens out of the blue, when I’m happy, normal or sad.
There is no rhym or reason for it.
head rushes and “visaul tremor” alway happen together, then comes the head bobbing /nodding , like a damcing Elvis toy, in the back of you car.

mmm… getting freaky now? :lol:

Nightimes are my worse for this, just dropping off to sleep and a tiny noise and I jump and thats me done for the rest of the night, everytime I go to fall asleep (theres no noise) and I just keep jolting awake with my heart pounding and all jittery, this can go on all night and I can be awake all night.

Christine

“physiological” rather than “psychological”
oh yes so true.

Christine,

Sorry for being so slow in replying to this. It was your post that put me onto this study last week so thanks for that. Here’s the actual paper if you feel like getting your hands dirty.

How have you been? I was thinking about you when I posted that talk by Dr Silver above. He mentions Fibro and CFS … thinks they’re probably rooted in migraine.

http://www.glycemicindex.com/sd/mutation_TRESK_2010.png

http://www.glycemicindex.com/sd/mutation_TRESK_2010.pdf

Scott :slight_smile:

Hi Scott,

So it appears we need our “Tresk” upregulating :shock: At least it looks like they are making some kind of progress!

I am much better than I was two weeks ago, thanks. Through messing around with hormones and getting into an ongoing stress situation I got into a bad migraine cycle. It didnt help that I broke my toe and had bad tendonitis (through the computer) in my right hand (that lasted 6 months but is just going), so altogether 9 months of this year gone, but things have improved a lot now.

I am tempted to try Lukes combination of Cipramil and Sandomigran, or even the Prothiaden that I did manage to tolerate years ago, but since all that messing around with hormones flattened me so that it stopped me going on a holiday, I dont want worsen things again at present.

Hope your low dose SSRI is keeping things stable.

Christine

How about us folks who have the throbbing like sensation but no pain? Wonder if this is included?

Joe