People who suffer from migraines have been given fresh hope that newdrugs may soon be available after scientists identified a faulty genelinked with the neurological disorder.
According to the team from the University of Oxford and Canada, the Tresk gene plays a pivotal role in how migraines develop.
The researchers made their conclusions after studying DNA samples taken from migraine sufferers and their families.
If the gene is faulty, it triggers the pain nerves in the brain, causing the severe headaches.
The discovery could lead to the development of new drugs and also explains why people in the same family suffer from migraines.
Around one in five people suffer with the problem.
Dr Zameel Cader, from the Medical Research Council’s FunctionalGenomics Unit at the University of Oxford, said: “We have now made amajor step forward in our understanding of why people suffer withmigraine and how in certain cases, your family can literally give you aheadache.
“Previous studies have identified parts of our DNA that increase therisk in the general population but have not found genes which can bedirectly responsible for common migraine.
“What we’ve found is that migraines seem to depend on how sensitive our nerves are in the pain centres of the brain.
“This finding should help lead to the key player which controls thisexcitability and will give us a real opportunity to find a new way tofight migraines and improve the quality of life for those suffering.”
Copyright Press Association 2010