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Migraine with aura (MA) arises from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The sibling risk, age at onset, and aura type were compared in 54 MA probands categorised by family history of MA. Three family types were ascertained each having an MA proband and: (1) an MA parent and MA offspring (three generation; n=15), (2) either an MA parent or an MA offspring (two generation; n=20), and (3) neither an MA parent nor an MA offspring (one generation; n=19). The crude recurrence risk to siblings of probands was 2.7-fold higher in three generation compared with two generation MA families (chi(2)=6.24, p=0.0125) and 4.8-fold higher in three generation compared with one generation MA families (chi(2)=9.95, p<0.002). The mean age at onset decreased with an increase in genetic load. The MA probands from three generation families were significantly younger than probands from the one generation families (F=5.14, p=0.030). MA probands from three generation families were more likely to report more than one type of aura than MA probands from two generation families (chi(2)=4.44, p=0.035). The significant difference in genetic loading and the earlier age at onset in the three generation families add further evidence for a genetic basis for MA and the difference in sibling risks demonstrates that the MA population is heterogeneous.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

Publication Date





1128 - 1130


Adult, Anticipation, Genetic, England, Female, Genetic Load, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Migraine with Aura, Pedigree, Risk