Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Migraine gene drugs.

Dr Aarno Palotie has found a genetic variant implicated in common migraines, particularly migraine with aura.

The variation affects 3 genes involved in regulating glutamate levels in the brain. Glutamate transmits signals between neurons, and the problem seems to be an excess that builds up in the gap between adjacent neurons.

The belief is that about 70 to 80% of the risk for migraines is genetic, mainly because people with migraine often have people in their families with migraine.

About 26% of the migraine sufferers in the study had the variant, while 18% of people who didn’t have the migraines had it.

According to Dr Palottie “What it means is there are many, many more genes that predispose us to migraines. This one is just uncovering the tip of the iceberg.”

In April 2009, Dr Anna Ferrari and an Italian team reported on the action of 4 medications used to prevent attacks of migraine, in this case in patients having migraine without aura.

A sample of blood was taken before using medication. Then topimarate, amitriptyline, flunarizine or propranolol was taken by the sufferers and after 8 weeks, another blood sample was obtained.

Controls had a glutamate level in the blood of 9.4 micromol/L. Before treatment, sufferers averaged 62 micromol/L, while 8 weeks in the average was 17.6 micromol/L.

The team concluded that this glutamate reduction might explain why the medications cut the risk of migraines.

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August 31, 2010 - Posted by | Aarno Palotie, Anna Ferrari, Brain, Medicine/Treatment, Migraine, Success

1 Comment »

  1. Migraine gene drugs. « Team McCallum…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Trackback by World Wide News Flash | August 31, 2010 | Reply


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