Research indicates that a recent discovery could soon lead to new kind of migraine painkillers.
Scientists at Oxford University have discovered a gene that acts like a pain thermostat in the brain, called TRESK, which controls the sensitivity of pain nerves in the brain and if faulty can bring the threshold so low that just living is painful.
AdvertisementHowever, TRESK is susceptible to being switched on or off using drugs - indicating that an effective treatment could be in the offing.
"It is a once in a generation find that could one day lead to treatments that could prevent migraines. Potentially it is even more exciting than that," the Telegraph quoted Dr Zameel Cader as saying.
A migraine is a severe, long-lasting headache usually felt as a throbbing pain at the front or on one side of the head, with symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light during the headache itself.
"Finding the key player which controls this excitability will give us a real opportunity to find a new way to fight migraines and improve the quality of life for those suffering," said Cader.
The study is published in Nature Medicine.