Today I saw that “migraine” was one of the most commonly searched terms on Google, and I wondered why. Lo and behold, it seems that a gene connected with the condition has been discovered by researchers in Europe, giving hope that it may lead to new and more effective treatment.
As a migraineur myself, I have a bit of a personal interest. My migraines (like my mother’s before me, alas) are usually triggered by foods, especially my beloved chocolate, and peanuts; slip me a Reese’s peanut butter cup and you’d just about do me in.
My first migraine occurred at the age of ten, at summer camp. I didn’t know what it was, and I suffered mostly in silence. Shortly afterward my migraines went into hiding, only to return with a vengeance in my mid-forties. They featured zigzag lights and other seemingly groovy but ultimately unpleasant visual distortions, although fortunately the headache/nausea part tended to be mild for me—at least, as migraines go—upsetting and debilitating, but not completely disabling.
Not only do my mother and I have migraines, but they turn out to be triggered by the very same foods. And since neither of us knew about the others’ triggers until ours were already established, the power of suggestion was not a factor. Heredity almost certainly was, and I would bet almost anything that, if you were to study our DNA, that pesky rs1835740 the migraine researchers identified would be right there on the string.