Migraine with aura and migraine without aura are not distinct entities: further evidence from a large Dutch population study

Ligthart, L., Boomsma, D. I., Martin, N. G., Stubbe, J. H., & Nyholt, D.R. (2006) Migraine with aura and migraine without aura are not distinct entities: further evidence from a large Dutch population study. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 9(1), pp. 54-63.

View at publisher


It is often debated whether migraine with aura (MA) and migraine without aura (MO) are etiologically distinct disorders. A previous study using latent class analysis (LCA) in Australian twins showed no evidence for separate subtypes of MO and MA. The aim of the present study was to replicate these results in a population of Dutch twins and their parents, siblings and partners (N = 10,144). Latent class analysis of International Headache Society (IHS)-based migraine symptoms resulted in the identification of 4 classes: a class of unaffected subjects (class 0), a mild form of nonmigrainous headache (class 1), a moderately severe type of migraine (class 2), typically without neurological symptoms or aura (8% reporting aura symptoms), and a severe type of migraine (class 3), typically with neurological symptoms, and aura symptoms in approximately half of the cases. Given the overlap of neurological symptoms and nonmutual exclusivity of aura symptoms, these results do not support the MO and MA subtypes as being etiologically distinct. The heritability in female twins of migraine based on LCA classification was estimated at .50 (95% confidence intervals [CI] .27 - .59), similar to IHS-based migraine diagnosis (h2 = .49, 95% CI .19-.57). However, using a dichotomous classification (affected-unaffected) decreased heritability for the IHS-based classification (h2 = .33, 95% CI .00-.60), but not the LCA-based classification (h2 = .51, 95% CI .23-.61). Importantly, use of the LCA-based classification increased the number of subjects classified as affected. The heritability of the screening question was similar to more detailed LCA and IHS classifications, suggesting that the screening procedure is an important determining factor in genetic studies of migraine.

Impact and interest:

41 citations in Scopus
37 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 92156
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Ligthart, Lannie
Boomsma, Dorret I
Martin, Nicholas G
Stubbe, Janine H
Nyholt, Dale R
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
2006/04/14 09:00
Twin Res Hum Genet. 2006 Feb;9(1):54-63.
Keywords: Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Migraine with Aura/classification/epidemiology/*genetics, Migraine without Aura/classification/epidemiology/*genetics, Models, Genetic, Netherlands/epidemiology, Severity of Illness Index, Twins/genetics
DOI: 10.1375/183242706776403019
ISSN: 1832-4274
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006
Deposited On: 22 Jan 2016 01:17
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2016 00:13

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page