Scientists are gaining a better understanding of the root of migraines that could open doors to new treatment options, thanks to new research on its genetic links.
Researchers identified five genetic regions linked to migraine onset and 12 genetic regions linked with migraine susceptibility; their findings are detailed in the journal Nature Genetics.
This review of the research, the largest one on migraines to date, "has greatly advanced our biological insight about the cause of migraine," study researcher Dr. Aarno Palotie, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said in a statement.
For the study, researchers looked at 100,000 samples from migraine patients and control samples that were taken from 29 different genomic studies. In addition to the 17 genetic regions tied to onset and susceptibility, researchers also further identified 134 genetic regions that seem to be more weakly tied to migraine susceptibility.
Migraines are common -- affecting more than 37 million Americans, according to the National Headache Foundation -- and affect women more than men. The exact cause of migraines is still not completely understood, but genetics, environmental factors and brain chemical changes seem to be at play, the Mayo Clinic reported.
Last year, European and Australian researchers published a study in the journal Nature Genetics identifying four genes and confirming two other genes that seem to play a role in migraine without aura susceptibility. And a study published earlier this year in the journal Science Translational Medicine showed that a mutation on the kinase I delta gene could play a role in migraines, Everyday Health reported.