The throbbing, pulsing pain of a migraine headache is unmistakable, making life miserable at least several times a month for about 1 in 5 adults in the developed world. Some types include aura, a disturbance in vision that comes like a dreaded warning before the headache hits. When it does, exposure to light and sound can be unbearable. Nausea and vomiting are possible, too.
Like many other common diseases, migraines run in families, but tracing exactly how these sometimes debilitating headaches pass from parents to children has been challenging. New research published Thursday in Neuron adds genetic detail to the growing body of evidence that migraines are caused by hundreds of common genetic variants that influence when migraines start, how severe they are, and whether family members are also affected.