Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migraine and episodic tension type headache (ETTH) seem to share a pathophysiological and genetic basis, according to data presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Vancouver.
Researchers enrolled 107 patients with episodic migraine, 53 with ETTH, 107 patients with IBS and 53 healthy controls. IBS was twice as common among migraineurs than those with ETTH (54.2 and 28.3 per cent respectively). Unilaterality and photophobia were especially pronounced in migraine patients with IBS. Among IBS patients, 35.5 per cent had migraine and 22.4 per cent ETTH.
The researchers looked at expression of the serotonin transporter gene and the serotonin receptor 2A gene. The IBS, migraine and tension headache groups expressed at least one gene that differed from controls.
“Since headache and irritable bowel syndrome are such common conditions, and causes for both are unknown, discovering a possible link that could shed light on the shared genetics of the conditions is encouraging,” said study author Derya Uluduz, Istanbul University.
“Further studies are needed to explore this possible link. Discovering shared genes may lead to more future treatment strategies for these chronic conditions.”
...and also stroke
People who experience migraines with aura are especially likely to suffer cardioembolic and thrombotic strokes, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.
Researchers included 12,844 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities study. Of these, 12.7 per cent had migraine and 8.5 per cent had non-migraine headaches. Of the migraineurs, 29 per cent experienced migraine with aura. Overall, 817 ischaemic strokes occurred from 1987-89 to 2012.
Participants who experienced migraine with aura were 2.4 times more likely to suffer an ischaemic stroke than migraineurs without aura and 3.3 and 2.0 times more likely to experience cardioembolic and thrombotic strokes. No significant association emerged between migraine with aura and lacunar stroke. The results suggest that migraines may be associated with changes in blood vessels in the heart and neck as well as the brain.