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Study Explores Relationship Between Migraine, Depression

Shared genetic factors may help explain link between depression, migraine with aura

THURSDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Depression and migraine, particularly migraine with aura (MA), may share underlying genetic factors, according to research published online Jan. 13 in Neurology.

Anine H. Stam, M.D., of Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed data from 2,652 subjects descended from a relatively small number of couples in an isolated Dutch community. From this group, 151 had MA and 209 had migraine without aura (MO).

The researchers found that patients with migraine had a higher risk of depression, which was significant in those whose migraine was accompanied with an aura (odds ratio, 1.70). Heritability estimates were 0.77 for MO and 0.96 for MA, and after adjustment for depressive symptoms, the estimate decreased the most for patients with MA, suggesting that shared genetic factors are particularly found in depression and MA.

"The authors address the important question of the apparent bidirectional link between migraine and depression, using a genetically isolated population, and show new data supporting the presence of shared genetic factors between depression and migraine in MA. Confirmation of this association would suggest that at least one pathophysiologic process could underlie both of these disabling disorders, with other processes contributing to the distinct features of each," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Several co-authors reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies or journals, and the editorial authors reported pharmaceutical, foundation, editorial, or patent relationships.

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