Migraines are a pain in the head and in the hip pocket, but newly discovered genetic causes by QUT researchers could lead the way to new preventative drugs and therapies.
Genetic analyses findings were published in The American Journal of Human Genetics by Professor Dale Nyholt and his PhD candidates Hamzeh Tanha and Anita Sathyanarayanan, all from the QUT Centre for Genomics and Personalised Health.
Professor Nyholt said the team identified causal genetic links to three blood metabolite levels that increase migraine risk:
- lower levels of DHA, an omega-3 known to reduce inflammation
- higher levels of LPE(20:4), a chemical that blocks an anti-inflammatory molecule
- lower levels of a third, currently uncharacterised metabolite, named X–11315.
Professor Nyholt said these genetic links could now be targeted by future research and clinical trials to develop and test compounds that influenced metabolite levels and prevented migraine.
He said migraine was estimated to cost the Australian economy $35.7 billion each year and current treatments failed up to 50 per cent of migraine patients.