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Exploring Genetic Link Between Migraines, Cardiovascular Trouble
Date:2/17/2009

und between the variant and cardiovascular disease, ischemic stroke (involving restricted blood supply to the brain) or heart attack.

However, in an unexpected twist, women who reported migraine with aura and had the DD or DI genotype had a doubling of their risk for cardiovascular disease.

There appeared to be no heightened risk among those women with the II genotype, the study found.

"Their issue is that maybe an angiotensin-converting enzyme polymorphism … may account for some of the association between migraine and cardiovascular disease," Lipton said. "They ruled out one [polymorphism], but it's a single polymorphism in a gene and there could be a dozen that play in that gene, and if you looked at them all, you might see an effect."

And, the authors stated, the ACE DD/DI genotype could simply be a marker for a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease in people who have migraines with aura.

A limitation of the study, Lipton added, is that the authors did not distinguish between aura and other warning features of a migraine.

A second study -- from Italian researchers and appearing in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology -- found that those suffering from severe migraines who underwent a procedure to close a small opening in the wall separating the right and left atria or chambers of the heart saw a significant lessening of the intense headaches.

More information

Visit the National Headache Foundation for more on migraines.



SOURCES: Richard Lipton, M.D., director, Montefiore Headache Center, and professor, neurology and epidemiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; February 2009, Neurology


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