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Familial Occurrence of Migraine With Aura in a Population-Based Study

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Objective.—To better define a possible genetic basis for migraine with aura (MWA). Methods.—We investigated the familial occurrence of migraine with aura in a sample of (MWA) subjects recruited from an epidemiologic study of migraine with aura involving the general population. The sample with migraine with aura (n  =  26) was selected out of a total of 1392 subjects (842 women and 550 men) representative of the general population aged 18 to 65 years in the southern Italian town of San Severo. A family history of migraine with aura was determined via direct interviews with all living first-degree relatives of the 26 subjects who could be reached by investigators, 119 people: 71 women and 48 men. The diagnosis of migraine with aura was made according to the 1988 International Headache Society (IHS) criteria. Results.—Of the 26 subjects with migraine with aura, 7 (6 women and 1 man) had a positive family history, with a total of 7 first-degree relatives affected by the disease (1 mother, 2 fathers, 1 brother, 1 sister, and 2 children). Based on the lifetime prevalence rate of migraine with aura (1.6%) in the San Severo general population, the relative risk of migraine with aura in the first-degree relatives of the subjects was 3.68 (4.16 for women and 2.77 for men). Conclusion.—Our subjects' relative risk rate for familial occurrence of migraine with aura was similar to that reported by one investigator, but markedly lower than that reported by another group.
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Keywords: epidemiology; family history; migraine with aura

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Headache Centre, Institute of Neurology, University of Parma, Italy. 2: National Health Service, Unit FG-1, San Severo (Foggia), Italy.

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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