Washington: Migraine and depression may share a strong genetic component, according to a new research.
"Understanding the genetic factors that contribute to these disabling disorders could one day lead to better strategies to manage the course of these diseases when they occur together," said study author Andrew Ahn, University of Florida, Gainesville (UFG).
"People with migraine or depression should tell their doctors about any family history of either disease to help us better understand the link between the two," added Ahn.
The study involved 2,652 people who took part in the larger Erasmus Rucphen Family study. All of the participants are descendants of 22 couples who lived in Rucphen in the 1850s to 1900s.
"Genealogical information has shown them all to be part of a large extended family, which makes this type of genetic study possible," said study author Gisela M. Terwindt, Leiden University Medical Centre, the Netherlands.
Of the participants, 360 had migraine. Of those, 151 had migraine with aura, which is when headaches are preceded by sensations that affect vision, such as seeing flashing lights, and 209 had migraine with no aura.
A total of 977 people had depression, with 25 percent of those with migraine also having depression, compared to 13 percent of those without migraine.
The researchers then estimated the relative contribution of genetic factors for both of the disorders.
They found that for both types of migraine, the heritability was estimated at 56 percent, i.e., 56 percent of the trait is explained by genetic effects, said a university release.
For migraine with aura, the estimate was 96 percent. "This finding shows that migraine with aura may be a promising avenue to search for migraine genes," Terwindt said.
The research was published in the Jan 13 online issue of Neurology.