Health Discoveries in Headache

Migraine headaches and depression may share genetic connection

January 29, 2010
Two illnesses, migraine headaches and depression, may stem from a genetic connection that could explain why so many people suffer from both health conditions.

"Migraine and depression co-occur far more frequently within subjects than [is] to be expected by chance," said researcher Dr. Gisela M. Terwindt, an assistant professor of neurology at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. "Migraine patients have an increased risk to develop depression and, vice versa."

The Dutch researchers collected data on 2,652 people who participated in the longstanding Erasmus Rucphen Family Study. From the data, they estimated that genetics contributed to both migraines and depression in 56 percent of all migraine cases. In cases where people experienced migraine with aura – visual sensations such as flashes of light that occur with the headaches – the genetic connection was responsible for 96 percent of migraine cases.

The study, published in January, appears in the online edition of Neurology.

The implantation of pacemakers for deep brain stimulation (DBS), and surgically placing tiny "neurostimulators" in the brain to disrupt headachepain signals, are among the surgical services offered at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. The hospital, which is part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, is the only medical center in Long Island and Queens to offer DBS surgery.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19585603-ADNFCR
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