Migraine and depression seem to be linked to each other. A new study claims that migraine and depression could share a powerful genetic constituent.

The study included around 2,652 people who participated in the bigger Erasmus Rucphen Family study. All the subjects are said to be descendants of around 22 couples who lived in Rucphen in the 1850s to 1900s.

“Understanding the genetic factors that contribute to these disabling disorders could one day lead to better strategies to manage the course of these diseases when they occur together. In the meantime, people with migraine or depression should tell their doctors about any family history of either disease to help us better understand the link between the two,” commented, Andrew Ahn, MD, PhD, of the University of Florida in Gainesville, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study and is a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Genealogical information has shown them all to be part of a large extended family, which makes this type of genetic study possible,” mentioned, study author Gisela M. Terwindt, MD, PhD, of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

It was seen that out of all the subjects, around 360 suffered from migraine. Out of those, approximately 151 had migraine with aura, which is when headaches are believed to be preceded by sensations that may influence vision like seeing flashing lights. The remaining 209 suffered from migraine with no aura. A sum of 977 people seemed to be in depression, with roughly 25 percent of those suffering from migraine as well as depression, as opposed to 13 percent of those devoid of migraine.

The study authors then approximated the comparative role of genetic factors for both these disorders. They discovered that for both kinds of migraine, the heritability was said to be anticipated at around 56 percent, i.e., 56 percent of the attribute is clarified by genetic effects. For migraine with aura, the approximation was believed to be around 96 percent.

Terwindt mentioned, “This finding shows that migraine with aura may be a promising avenue to search for migraine genes.”

Pitting the heritability scores for depression between those with migraine and those without supposedly exhibited a common genetic component in the two disorders, predominantly migraine with aura.

Terwindt concluded by mentioning that this suggests that common genetic pathways may, at least partly, underlie both of these disorders, rather than that one is the consequence of the other.

The study was published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.