Genetics Link Overlapping Conditions
Many people with fibromyalgia also experience migraine and depression; now a study from the Netherlands reports that these two seemingly unrelated conditions may share a genetic component.
Researchers undertook this investigation upon noticing that migraine and depression co-occur with greater frequency than is to be expected by chance—and that the relationship goes both ways: people with migraine are at increased risk of developing depression, while people with depression have an increased risk of migraine.
For the study, data was collected on more than 2600 people, all of them descendants of 22 couples who lived in a particular Dutch town in the last 50 years of the nineteenth century. Using this data, the researchers found that genetics explained 56 percent of the migraine cases (360 people in the study had migraine). Genetics also explained 96 percent of the cases of migraine with aura, in which the headache is preceded by flashes of light (151 of the study participants had migraine with aura). In addition, investigators found that migraine patients have—at least partly—a genetic predisposition for depression.
Researchers noted that while genetics may play a part in both conditions, it is possible that they are only triggered by an environmental trigger.
Investigators have also been looking at genetics in relation to FM. For more details, read “What’s In a Gene?” on page 8 of Fibromyalgia AWARE magazine. The digital issue is free for registered subscribers.