A group of American scientists have set out to determine whether a gene variant may affect the link between migraine and stroke or heart attacks.
Dr. Markus Schurks, of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, revealed that the study on 25,000 women look at the genetic variant called the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) D/I polymorphism.
The study's author said that the women answered a questionnaire about their history of migraines and migraines with aura.
Aura is usually described as visual disturbances like flashing lights or geometric patterns, according to background information in a research article published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
A total of 4,577 women reported a history of migraine and of those, 1,275 had migraine with aura.
Schurks said that 625 strokes and heart attacks were reported 12 years after the start of the study.
The study did not find a link between the gene variant and migraine, migraine with aura, stroke or heart attacks.
But women who had migraine with aura and also were carriers of certain genotypes, called the DD and the DI genotypes, had double the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
On the other hand, the subjects who had migraine with aura, and were carriers of a third genotype called the II genotype, were not at increased risk.
Schurks cautioned that the relationship was identified with very little information, and must be tested in other studies to determine if it is real.
"The complex relationship among this gene variant, migraine, stroke and heart disease has been the focus of many studies and the results have been controversial. Getting to the bottom of whether there is a connection and why may help to develop ways to prevent issues like stroke and heart disease, which are leading causes of death in the United States," says the study author.