One area that has benefited from genetic study is in the rare form of migraine known as familial hemiplegic migraine. As genetic mutations have been discovered, we have gained a better understanding of how this type of migraine works, how to diagnose it and how to treat it.
Familial hemiplegic migraine is a type of migraine with aura, and is one of the more severe types of migraine that can cause stroke-like symptoms – weakness on one side of the body, trouble speaking, and a pins-and-needles sensation. There is a genetic (family-familial) connection, related to the calcium channels in the body. As seems to be the case in many migraine types, the body is getting the wrong neurological signals. Some of this testing is still in the research stages, and it’s not yet foolproof, but it’s a tremendous advantage to earlier guesswork.
There’s a bit of an update now online of the original December article on headache and hemiplegic migraine, including more specifics and references. It’s still just an overview – watch for more!