What Causes Migraines?

Faking a migraine is a fail-safe way to get out of everything from work commitments to boring social engagements -- it's a debilitating ailment with no obvious physical symptoms. However, this trusty get-out-of-jail free card could soon be revoked, with scientists making new breakthroughs in identifying migraine-associated genes. Tch.

Migraine picture from Shutterstock

Approximately 14 percent of the adult population suffer from migraine attacks, but the molecular mechanisms that cause them are poorly understood. In a bid to better understand the brain disorder, researchers from the University of Cambridge analysed 29 genome-wide association studies comprising 23,285 individuals with migraine and 95,425 population-matched controls.

The report identified 12 locations within genes that are associated with migraine susceptibility, including five new ones that were identified in disease subgroup analyses. Migraines with aura (i.e. -- the symptoms that occur shortly before the headache begins) were also shown to have a considerably higher heritability estimate and sibling recurrence risk than migraine without aura.

[Our research] identified 12 loci significantly associated with migraine susceptibility, including 5 new loci [near AJAP1 at 1 1p36, near TSPAN2 at 1 1p13, within FHL5 at 6q16, within C7orf10 at 7p14 and near MMP16 at 8q21] as well as 134 additional suggestive loci.


Observed differences in the number of identified loci and the strength of association suggest that the genetic background of migraine with aura is considerably less influenced by common variants than that of migraine without aura, contrary to previous expectations.

If science has its way, we'll soon have no excuses left for chucking a sickie.

Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies new susceptibility loci for migraine [Nature Genetics]


    This wont be a valid excuse anymore because of.. genetics testing??

    I cant come I have a migrane..
    Oh yeah? Let us see your genetics..

      "I have examined your genetics and note that you are not susceptible to migraines with a statistically insignificant margin of error."
      "And yet I have one."
      "That's cool, stay home then, no worries."

      haha ... I'm picturing the boss saying this to their employee...

      I'm guessing as soon as they find out what causes it, they'll find a way to control or eliminate it, and thus the whole migraine excuse will be blown out of the water because there will be an 'easy' way to fix it. Personally, I really do suffer from migraines and I'd be glad to see the back of them!

    Hmm new business venture...
    "Thank you for choosing Genome Select, how may I assist you?"

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