HeadWise HeadWise: Volume 4, Issue 4 - Page 21

FIGURE 1: Lifetime Prevalence of Migraine in EPGP Participants, by History of Seizure Disorders in Non-Enrolled First-Degree Relatives Prevalence of Migraine 50% 40% Migraine with Aura Migraine without Aura Only 30% 20% 10% 0% None 1 ≥2 Number of additional first-degree relatives reported to have had seizure disorders not increase with the number of first-degree affected individuals with seizures. This corresponds to the thought that auras are a phenomenon that has some similarity to seizures – they are transient neurological disturbances in the brain. A strong relationship between MA and epilepsy has been found in other research studies as well. We then continued to separate our results according to the type of epilepsy experienced by the study participants – either focal epilepsy or generalized epilepsy. We found that the evidence for a shared genetic effect on migraine and epilepsy was just as strong in the individuals with focal epilepsy as with generalized epilepsy. This result was also as strong if both participants in the family had the same type of epilepsy or different types of epilepsy. Our results are the first demonstration of a shared genetic effect on migraine and epilepsy in a large group of individuals with common epilepsy and common migraine. About two-thirds of epilepsy has no identified cause. Genetic factors may play a critical role particularly in that subset of epilepsy. The hope of scientists, caregivers, and families with epilepsy is that genetics will lead to greater understanding of the causes and the pathophysiology of epilepsy. Understanding more about the genetics of a disorder can help clarify the underlying biology of that disorder. That knowledge can be used to develop targeted new therapies, and allow physicians to better care for patients with epilepsy and migraine. HW www.headaches.org | National Headache Foundation 21