STYLE

Migraine Gene Could Be 'Switched Off'

27/09/2010 12:28 | Updated 22 May 2015

Flickr, Migraine Chick

It could be the discovery the one in four women estimated to suffer from migraine have been waiting for. Scientists have identified a faulty gene they believe is responsible for causing migraine. And that means new drug treatments that simply switch the gene on and off could spell an end to the painful headaches that affect so many.

An international group of scientists, including representatives from Oxford University, discovered the gene and how it may trigger pain nerves in a part of the brain called the trigeminal ganglion, which leads to throbbing headaches.

Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the study also explains why migraine often runs in families, since children might inherit the faulty gene from one or both parents.

It's already being hailed a once-in-a-generation discovery, but it could also lead to revolutionary treatments for any kind of pain. So whereas current painkillers work by blocking messages from nerve endings in the affected area of the body back to the brain, switching off the pain control gene altogether could effectively make you immune.

It could take years, however, before treatments are developed, tested and made available. Until then, migraine sufferers will have to make do with painkillers, anti-inflammatories and hormone treatments, with natural remedies including magnesium, vitamin B2 and herbs such as butterbur and feverfew.

If you suffer from the type of migraine that makes you sensitive to light, a new product called MigraLens - glasses that filter red and blue light - might help too.

Has migraine made your life a misery? Have you found a treatment that works?

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