Scientists Find Genetic Link Between Migraine and Depression

01/21/2010 - News

Scientists Find Genetic Link Between Migraine and Depression

By: June Chen, MD


Previous research has demonstrated a strong association between migraine headache and depression. According to a new study published in the journal Neurology, this link between migraine, especially migraine with aura, and depression may be at least partially explained by genetic factors.

Scientists from the Netherlands studied members of a geographically and genetically isolated population in southwest Holland where all study participants were part of a large extended family. Of the 2600 people who were screen, 360 individuals had a history of migraine and more than 580 individuals had a history of depression. Using a statistical algorithm, the scientists found that patients with migraine headache associated with aura were the most likely to be depressed.

Based on the findings of this study, shared genetic factors may underlie the frequent co-occurrence of migraine and depression. The identification of common genetic factors for migraine and depression may significantly improve our understanding of the molecular basis for these common, and often disabling, conditions. Health care professionals should consider making note of migraine patients’ family histories of both headache and depression.



Neurology published January 13, 2010 as doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181cbcd.


Created on: 01/21/2010
Reviewed on: 01/21/2010

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