In the future, knowing the genetics of these conditions may lead to better treatment and possibly prevention, she said.
"Identification of common genetic factors may significantly improve the insight into the molecular basis of both migraine and depression," Terwindt said. "This may help in the future to get more insight in the common pathophysiological process underlying both of these disabling disorders. This will, hopefully, lead to prevention of chronic migraine and development of tailored prophylactic treatments."
Dr. Gretchen E. Tietjen, chairwoman of neurology and director of the Headache Treatment and Research Program at University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio, said that while genetics play a part in both migraine and depression, it may well take an environmental trigger to actually produce either condition.
Tietjen recently published a series of studies that found that children who experienced abuse or neglect were more likely to suffer from migraine and depression as adults.
"Physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and physical and emotional neglect were strongly tied to depression and other conditions that are found with migraine," she said.
Tietjen noted that stress in early life can permanently change the brain.
"Genetics is really important, and environment probably is important for turning some of these things on," she added.
For more information on migraine, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Gisela M. Terwindt, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, neurology, Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands; Gretchen E. Tietjen, M.D., professor and chairwoman, neurology, and director, Headache Treatment and Research Pro
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