Gene variations may lead to stress migraines

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Gene variations

New research has suggested that financial worries may cause migraines in people who have two specific variations in a gene that regulates our biological clock. Our biological clock is the collective name given to a range of interacting molecules that regulate our sleep-wakefulness cycle and the bodily and behavioral changes that go with it.

New research examines the link between this clock which also regulates genetically and the risk of developing migraines.

Researchers from Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, explain, the research was prompted by previous studies suggesting that people with mood disorders often have symptoms that signal a disruption of their circadian rhythm.

Additionally, other studies pointed to a link between mood disorders and certain variations in the genes associated with the circadian rhythm. As well as to a genetic link between mood disorders and migraine.

Stressors shown to trigger migraines by disrupting the body’s rhythmicity, and all of this existing evidence made the researchers wonders whether circadian genes might also play a role in the development of migraines.

ID-Migraine Questionnaire

Researchers investigate a total of 2,349 participants and asked them to report on whether or not they had migraines using the ID-Migraine Questionnaire.

The CLOCK gene is the main genetic component of the circadian clock. Therefore, the researchers zoomed in on it, screening the participants for two single nucleotide polymorphisms, or variants, of the CLOCK gene.

The participants also asked to fill in a financial questionnaire, and the researchers defined chronic stress in relation to financial worries.

Researchers tested the effects of the CLOCK gene variants on migraine statistically by applying logistic regression models and adjusting the analysis for population, gender, and age.

At first, the study found no link between the CLOCK gene variants and migraine, but when they added financial stress into the mix, the results changed.

People who were having financial difficulties have 20 percent more likely to have migraines if they also had the two CLOCK genetic variants.

This work does not show what causes migraine. There is no single cause, but it shows both stress and genetics have an effect.

The results shed light on one specific mechanism that may contribute to migraine. What it does mean is that for many people, the stress caused by financial worries can physically affect on person.

The study demonstrates how an environmental risk factor exerts its effect only in the presence of a given genetic risk factor. This has done to a great extent in migraine, making this study an exciting new lead.

More information: [ECNP]

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