Wednesday, August 9, 2017


by: Dr. Andrew J. Rochman

More than 10% of the people in the world complain about crippling migraines. Migraines can be extremely difficult to deal with and may even hinder people from functioning normally. Symptoms of a migraine include throbbing, intense pain, nausea and an extreme sensitivity to light and sound which can last from a few hours to a few days.

An Elusive Cure
Up until now a migraine cure has been rather elusive. Sufferers of migraines were traditionally told to stay away from factors which may trigger their migraines such as stress, bright lights, foods, or certain exercises.
Migraine is one of the most common disabling disorders in the world. Locating the problems behind illnesses such as migraines and epilepsy is much more complex than it seems. This is because the patient does not have any neural responses to the illness until an episode occurs which makes it problematic to detect biochemical clues.

A Cure for the Disabling Disorder

Recently, researchers were able to uncover 5 genetic regions which were linked to migraines. The location and understanding of these genetic regions has brought researchers closer to understanding the biomarkers or triggers which cause migraines. Another large scale study was able to locate 12 genetic regions out of which 8 regions were located in the cranial areas which control the circuitries of the brain. 2 of the genetic regions control the maintenance of healthy brain tissue.

The Genome

Additionally, another research by Oxford University found that a gene called TRESK was the root cause of migraines. This gene is what controls the sensitivity pain. As the threshold is lowered the ability to perceive pain is increased and leads to a difficulty in functioning because of the constant awareness of pain. Since awareness of all associated factors is raised, migraine sufferers also experience an increased sensitivity to light, sounds and touch.

Who is at Risk?

Researchers found that individuals that carried a variant of Chromosome 8 in two genes were more likely to develop migraines. The two genes; PGCP and MTDH/AEG-1 which carried the DNA variant were associated with the regulation of glutamate levels. These levels are tasked with the transportation of messages between the brain and nerve cells. An accumulation of glutamate in the synapses of nerve cells is what triggers migraines. 
This is what became the target area for researchers looking to find a cure for migraine. If the glutamate buildup in the synapse can be prevented, then migraines can be effectively reduced or even eliminated.

Future Implications of the Research

The discovery of a migraine cure and the alleviation of associated symptoms could serve as a gateway for the treatment of other related illnesses. According to Dr. Melody Winawer who was part of the research, no disorder is a standalone ailment. By finding a cure for migraine, there is a possibility of locating the problems behind other intersecting neural disorders such as anxiety, depression, epilepsy, psychosis, and suicidality.
The study may even lead to an upheaval of the treatment methods that we know today as recognition, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are transformed.

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