Genetics have always played a huge role on our health foundation. “A research team led by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of California, San Francisco has identified a genetic mutation that is strongly associated with a typical form of migraine.
In a paper published on May 1 in Science Translational Medicine, the team linked the mutation with evidence of migraine in humans, in a mouse model of migraine and in cell culture in the laboratory.
The mutation is in the gene known as casein kinase I delta (CKIdelta).
“This is the first gene in which mutations have been shown to cause a very typical form of migraine,” said senior investigator Louis J. Ptáček, an investigator at HHMI and a professor of neurology at UCSF. “It’s our initial glimpse into a black box that we don’t yet understand.”
Migraine, the causes of which are still unknown, affects 10 to 20 percent of all people, and causes “huge losses in productivity, not to mention immense suffering,” said Ptáček. Typical symptoms include a pounding headache; lowered pain threshold; hypersensitivity to mild stimuli including sound and touch; and aura, which Ptáček describes as “a visual sensation that presages the headache to come.”
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