Migraine sufferers, everywhere, rejoice!
Australian researchers have just made a discovery that could drastically improve the treatment of the debilitating condition.
Led by Professor Dale Nyholt, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation compared 8 million DNA variants of 60,000 participants with the aim to better understand the world’s third most common disorder.
Through their extensive research, they found 44 independent DNA variants that directly link to the onset of migraines.
38 of these were shown to be associated with migraines, and a whopping 28 of those regions had not been previously reported in migraine susceptibility.
While the study hasn’t found a foolproof cure, a better understanding of the condition ranked seventh in the most disabling of diseases worldwide after stroke and dementia, can only lead to more effective treatments.
"The exact causes of migraine are unknown and there are no recognisable, diagnostic, pathological changes, however, twin and family studies indicate that migraine has a significant genetic component," Professor Dale Nyholt said to SMH.
"We don't know what the biology is and what is triggering migraine headaches but we know genetics are involved. We were looking for if a particular DNA variant that was more common in migraine cases compared to controlled groups.”
"This gives us biological insight and we can then look at groups to see if we can target this specific pathway then we can have a better treatment."
As it stands now, existing medications such as Triptans only effectively help about 40 per cent of sufferers. But now with this new breakthrough, scientists will have the ability to re-purpose and adapt the current medications to better suit the patient, leading to a more effective treatment.
“We now know more about the biology, what genes, what pathways are associated with a migraine headache and therefore it has given us real targets to organise and work out which pharmaceutical will target those pathways.”
“It's not going to be an overnight solution but we're well and truly on the road to finding new things and new treatments.”