Scientists identify faulty gene link to migraines

Migraine sufferers were offered new hope today after researchers identified a faulty gene responsible for the debilitating headaches.

The finding could lead to better treatment and improve the quality of life for the one in five people who have the neurological disorder.

Scientists at the University of Oxford along with colleagues in Canada took DNA samples from migraines sufferers and their families.

They found that if a gene called Tresk is defective it can trigger pain nerves in the brain and cause a severe headache.

The discovery explains why people in the same family often suffer from the condition and could lead to new drugs that can switch off the pain.

Dr Zameel Cader, from the Medical Research Council's Functional Genomics Unit at the University of Oxford, said: "We have now made a major step forward in our understanding of why people suffer with migraine and how in certain cases, your family can literally give you a headache.

"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 sensitive our nerves are in the pain centres of the brain.

"This finding should help lead to the key player which controls this excitability and will give us a real opportunity to find a new way to fight migraines and improve the quality of life for those suffering."

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 people can have a warning visual disturbance - for example, seeing zigzag lines or flashing lights - before the start of the headache which is called an aura.

Many people also have symptoms, such as nausea and sensitivity to light, during the headache itself.

Until now, the genes responsible were unknown.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) rates migraine as a leading cause of disability worldwide and it is estimated to be the most costly neurological disorder in Europe.

The study, published in Nature Medicine, was funded by the Medical Research Council, Genome Canada, Genome Quebec, Emerillon Therapeutics, the Wellcome Trust and Pfizer.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: HR Generalist - 2 week contract - £200pd - Immediate start

    £200 per day: Ashdown Group: Working within a business that has a high number ...

    Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

    Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

    Recruitment Genius: Business / Operations Manager

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well-established and growi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive - Major Sporting Venue

    £29500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Day In a Page

    In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

    Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
    The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

    The young are the new poor

    Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
    Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

    Greens on the march

    ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

    Through the stories of his accusers
    Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

    The Meaning of Mongol

    Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible