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article imageGenetic risk factor found for migraine headaches

By Amanda Tennis     Aug 29, 2010 in Health
Researchers have found a gene that could be causing migraines in some people. Migraines are the most expensive 'brain disorder' in the United States.
A genetic risk factor for migraine headaches has been found by an international research team. The team studied 50,000 patients from Finland, Germany, and The Netherlands and found that some people had a variant that affected a chemical in the brain, which causes a greater risk for developing migraines.
The chemical that can cause migraine, called glutamate can build up and can cause a reaction that may play a role in causing migraines.
"This is the first time we have been able to peer into the genomes of many thousands of people and find genetic clues to understand common migraine," said Aarno Palotie, chair of the international headache genetics consortium at the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute in Britain, which led the study.
According to, The World Health Organization ranks it 19th among all causes of "years lived with disability," and family life, social life and work capacity are negatively affected in almost all migraine sufferers.
One in six women get migraines; one in twelve men get migraines. It has been estimated that migraines are the most expensive brain disorder in the United States and Europe.
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