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Ann Neurol. 1999 Feb;45(2):242-6.

Evidence of a genetic factor in migraine with aura: a population-based Danish twin study.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Glostrup Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


We studied the genetic influence on cause of migraine with aura (MA) by analyzing a twin population. The twin sample consisted of 2,026 monozygotic (MZ) twins and 3,334 same-sex dizygotic (DZ) twins, born from 1953 to 1960, from the population-based New Danish Twin Register. A validated questionnaire was used to screen for migraine, the response rate being 87%, and similar among MZ and DZ twins. All twin pairs with at least 1 twin with possible MA were interviewed by a physician experienced in headache diagnoses. The answers from the questionnaire as well as the zygosity of the twins were blinded for the interviewer. A total of 211 twin pairs were identified, of whom 77 pairs were MZ and 134 pairs were DZ. The lifetime prevalence of MA was 7% and with a male-to-female ratio of 1:1.1. The pairwise concordance rates were significantly higher in MZ (34%) than in DZ twin pairs (12%), emphasizing the importance of genetic factors in MA. However, environmental factors are also important, as the pairwise concordance rate was less than 100% in MZ twin pairs. The recurrence risk of MA was 50% in MZ and 21% in DZ twin pairs. In nontwin siblings, the recurrence risk of MA is 27%, which is similar to the recurrence risk in DZ twins. This indicates that MA is not developed due to specific environmental factors shared by the twins.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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