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Migraine Genes Pinpointed By Researchers

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Researchers have pinpointed four new genes that predispose a person to migraines, according to a new study.

Researchers from Europe and Australia, part of the International Headache Genetics Consortium, have identified four new genes and confirmed another two genes responsible for susceptibility to migraine without aura. Their research is published in the journal Nature Genetics.

"We're trying to find the genetic basis of migraine, and basically speaking, this is the beginning," Dr. Stephen Silberstein, director of the Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, who was not involved with the study, told HealthDay. "Now we know in what neighborhood the genes are located, but we still don't know where the houses are. It's an important first step."

HealthDay reported that researchers looked at the DNA from 2,300 people with migraines without aura, as well as that of 4,580 people who are part of the general population.

"Studies of this kind are possible only through large-scale international collaboration -- bringing together the wealth of data with the right expertise and resources," study researcher Dr. Arn van den Maagdenberg said in a statement. "The identified genes open new doors to investigate how this type of migraine comes about."

Researchers reported that migraines are responsible for 25 million lost days at school and work because of their incapacitating effects. Most people who get migraines don't experience auras, though there are some people who do experience auras with their migraines.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of migraines without aura include throbbing head pain, nausea, light and sound sensitivity, feeling lightheaded, having blurry vision and even feelings of nausea. If a person is experience an aura with the migraine, he or she might also have problems speaking, vision loss, seeing strange shapes or lights and feeling pins and needles.

Migraines are known to be caused by some sort of mixture of genetics and the environment, with some factors including stress, weather, medication changes, foods and lights, among others, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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