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WCN 2023 | The role of genetics in cluster headache risk and treatment response

Rigmor Højland Jensen, MD, from University of Copenhagen, Glostrup, Denmark, discusses the recent cluster headache genome-wide association study meta-analysis which analyzed data from over 4700 patients in order to investigate the genetics of cluster headache. The estimated single nucleotide polymorphism-based heritability of cluster headache was 14.5%. Seven genome wide significant loci were identified. Of these loci, three are also loci associated with migraine, therefore investigating the four which are unique to cluster headache will allow for a greater understanding of this distinct condition. From this study, a causal effect of cigarette smoking intensity on cluster headache was also elucidated. Dr Jensen highlights that smoking may be a stress relief mechanism for individuals after a cluster headache attack and that this may exacerbate the condition further. This interview took place at the World Congress of Neurology (WCN) 2023 in Montreal, Canada.

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