A) It has long been accepted that there is a genetic component to migraine and another recent US study has now confirmed at least one genetic mutation that seems to make people prone to migraine.
B) More interestingly, new research (again from the US) has indicated that shared genetic susceptibility between migraine and epilepsy. It is this finding which I would like to comment on.
For many years, when asked to explain to patients in layman’s terms what a actual migraine `is`, I have described it as a type of `electrical storm` in the brain, which then triggers secondary changes in the blood flow and also results in certain chemical/metabolic changes.
These three phenomenon (electrical, circulatory and chemical) result in the various symptoms associated with migraine.
Now, epilepsy is also essentially an `electrical storm` in the brain although in a different location and usually more profound than migraine.
In fact one could argue, as I do, that migraine and several seizure type disorders (such as epilepsy) are all variations of neurovascular (that is nerve and circulatory) `storms` in the brain. Thus they may well all exist on the same, albeit rather wide, spectrum of disorders.
It is not surprising therefore that certain medications used to treat epilepsy are also used in the management of migraine!
( I would like to stress that this does not mean that if you suffer from migraine you will go on to develop epilepsy or any other seizure type disorder).