April 15, 2024

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Genetic link between migraines and blood sugar levels confirmed

Genetic link between migraines and blood sugar levels confirmed

Genetic link between migraines and blood sugar levels confirmed.

Migraine and glucose-related traits, such as fasting insulin and type 2 diabetes, are widely understood to be common comorbidities, but now that scientists have a specific genetic link, they could see the development of new therapeutic areas for these debilitating diseases.

Researchers at Australia’s Queensland University of Technology have identified the culprits of genes that see so many migraine and headache sufferers also fight blood sugar traits, creating double health problems.

Migraine is estimated to affect more than 10 percent of the world’s population and is approximately three times as common among women, affecting more than 17 percent of women in the United States.

“Migraines were described as ‘glycemic headaches’ as far back as 1935,” says Dale Nyholt, professor at UQ’s Center for Genomics and Personalized Health. Blood sugar features such as insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia (too much insulin) , hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), and type 2 diabetes have all been linked to migraines and headaches. “


Genetic link between migraines and blood sugar levels confirmed.

The discovery came after researchers analyzed the genomes of thousands of migraine sufferers to see if there was any genetic link. They performed cross-trait analysis to identify shared genomic regions, loci, genes and pathways, and then tested for casual relationships.

“Among the nine blood glucose traits we studied, we found that fasting insulin (blood insulin levels) and HbA1c were both significantly genetically associated with migraine and headache, whereas two-hour glucose was only genetically associated with migraine,” Rafiqul Islam, a PhD researcher at the University of Queensland, said. “We also found regions of genetic risk factors shared between migraine and fasting insulin, fasting glucose, and HbA1c, and for headache, shared regions with glucose, fasting insulin, HbA1C, and fasting insulin.”

The genetic overlap is an important step forward in understanding how migraine and its associated glycemic signature manifest, opening up exciting new avenues for medical intervention.

“By identifying genetic correlations and shared loci and genes in our analysis, we inferred causal relationships that confirmed and improved understanding of the relationship between migraine, headache, and blood sugar traits.” Nyholt said.

This improved understanding will be welcome news to the millions of people around the world who manage these major health problems.

Islam added: “Our findings provide avenues for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to manage the glycemic profile of migraine and headache patients, specifically increasing fasting insulin levels to protect against headaches.”

The study was published in the journal Human Genetics.



Genetic link between migraines and blood sugar levels confirmed

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