Patients with familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) are more likely to develop depression. This type of migraine may have associated vertigo, nausea, and visual disturbances. In the United States, researchers from the 'Harvard Medical School' have proven how genetic and hormonal factors increase the tendency to suffer FHM in women.
Familial hemiplegic migraine is a rare type of migraine, of autosomal dominant inheritance, characterized by repeated episodes of hemiparesis or hemiplegia during the aura of the migrainous crisis; Paresthesias, visual field disorders, dysphasia, and different degrees of altered consciousness, among other symptoms, may also occur.
Attacks persist for a few minutes to hours, and usually begin in childhood. The study shows that FHM has an important genetic component, in addition to hormonal, affecting mostly women (as it happens with other types of migraine).
Interestingly, it has been observed that patients suffering from FHM are more likely to develop depression. According to the experts, mutations in the CACNA1A gene are the main responsible for FHM, causing visual alterations known as "aura". The investigation included several mice with one or two mutations of the CACNA1A gene, which showed an increased susceptibility to FHM and depression. The scientists observed that the mutation associated with the more severe forms of this migraine caused a greater propensity to suffer depression than the mutation related to a milder form of FHM.