Some research has indicated that patients who suffer migraine, and especially migraine with aura, are at increased risk for heart disease. But a study published in the inaugural edition of the journal Neurology® Genetics suggests that the observed linkage is not due to genetic factors. Study author Aarno Palotie, MD, of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT related “…when we looked for shared gene variants that might help explain part of the link between migraine and heart disease, we found no shared gene variations between migraine with aura and heart disease. This is surprising because the evidence is stronger that people with migraine with aura have an increased risk of heart disease than people with migraine without aura.”
Other genetic factors not investigated by the current study could play a role in the observed linkage, according to an accompanying editorial in the journal. Additionally, there could be nongenetic factors including the propensity of migraine sufferers to obesity, smoking, depression, and exercise avoidance that could contribute to the increased risk of heart disease. Migraine without aura and heart disease did share some genetic variations, but researchers were surprised to find that those shared genes actually protected against heart disease.
Painweek.org has a plethora of information about migraines. Click here for links to other articles.
Read a press release from the American Academy of Neurology here.
A link to the journal article may be found here.