- science education
Cluster headache is a neurological condition accompanied by a recurring painful headache on one side of the head, usually around the eye
A team of international researchers, led by LUMC, was the first to identify genetic risk factors for cluster headaches. They found four genes that play a role in the development of this neurological condition associated with painful headaches. This finding is an important step in uncovering the exact cause of cluster headaches. The results have been published in Annals of Neuroscience.
Cluster headache is a neurological condition accompanied by a recurring painful headache on one side of the head, usually around the eye. “Until now, we thought genetic factors were less important in cluster headaches than in migraines, for example, because we rarely saw large families with multiple cluster headache patients,” says professor and neurologist Gisela Terwindt.
But genetics seem to play a role in the development of cluster headaches, Professor Arne van den Magdenberg of the Department of Neurology and Human Genetics and colleagues discovered. Researchers have found four genetic variants that increase the risk of developing cluster headaches. To this end, they conducted a large genetic study, the so-called genome-wide association study.
Leiden researchers compared the genetic information of hundreds of thousands of genetic variants of more than 800 cluster headache patients from the Netherlands with 1,000 controls. In this way, they were able to identify genetic variants that increase the risk of developing cluster headaches. The Norwegian researchers were then able to confirm the variants present in a small group of about 150 patients and about 1,800 controls. In addition, another group of researchers found genetic risk factors at the same places in the genome, strengthening the evidence for a genetic cause.
“What makes our findings interesting is that the difference between patients and controls in both studies is greater than what we typically see for other complex diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said Aster Harder, a researcher in the Department of Neurology. . and human genetics.
“The discovery, in these small studies, of four risk factors for cluster headache, provides strong evidence that the disease has a genetic basis,” says van den Magdenberg. This study is an important step in unraveling the biological mechanisms that cause cluster headaches. We hope that this will allow us to offer better treatments to these patients in the future,” adds Associate Professor Raymond Nordam.
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- Name of author and/or editor by: LUMC
- Photographer or photographic agency: INGImages
- The source of this article: LUMC
- What is the URL for this resource?: https://www.lumc.nl/over-het-lumc/nieuws/2021/juli/LUMC-onderzoekers-vinden-eerste-genetische-risicofactoren-voor-clusterhoofdpijn/
- Original title: LUMC researchers have found the first genetic risk factors for cluster headaches
- the target audience: Health care professionals and students
- Date: 2021-07-21
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