Last night I received this comment from David and was so excited that I was trying to write this post in my broken sleep:
“…an interesting research finding published recently titled ‘Unveiled: First gene link to common migraine.’ In short, this genetic variant allows a messenger chemical called glutamate to accumulate between brain cells, and this unleashes the migraine.”
After years of watching, reading and waiting, here then, finally researchers have located a gene, yes, a real player in our DNA and a genetic risk factor for common migraine. Here’s the stuff for brain/bio geeks: The variant is called rs1835740 and lies on Chromosome 8 between two genes, PGCP and MTDH/AEG-1. It has something to with a protein that clears glutamate from synapses in the brain.
If you’re like me, the numbers and letters don’t mean much. But finding the little devil gene does. We’ve been hearing about glutamate for a few years (I took Namenda [memantine for Alzheimer's] for a while last year; it is somehow associated with glutamate, too), and at least a couple of pharmaceuticals have worked at developing drugs related to it. Now maybe here is hope that continued research will result in effective help for more migraineurs.
And of course, this is powerful for letting the rest of the world know what we already do — that migraine is a genetic disease, not a headache! Stay tuned — I’m sure there is much more to come…
P.S. A fascinating article in The Independent discusses the genome scanning technique used in the migraine study and many others.