The first genome wide association study for migraine risk factors is reported online in this week's issue of Nature Genetics. The associated variant is located near genes encoding proteins involved in glutamate―a neurotransmitter in the brain―homeostasis, but further studies will be needed to confirm links between the identified variant and glutamate regulation Migraine is a costly neurological disorder that is characterized by recurrent attacks of severe headache. There are approximately 300 million people worldwide who undergo a migraine attack daily. Though genome-wide association studies are often used to understand genetic susceptibility in various diseases, neurological disorders are underrepresented in such studies.
Aarno Palotie and colleagues scanned the genomes of approximately 5,000 European people who had been diagnosed with various forms of migraines and identified an associated genetic variant on chromosome 8q22.1.