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Debate: Migraine confers an evolutionary advantage to migraineurs? NO

The meaning of migraine for life ...

May 10, 2014 | Length: 14:10 min


Congress:The 8th World Congress on Controversies in Neurology
Presenter:J. Schim

DOES MIGRAINE CONFER AN EVOLUTIONARY ADVANTAGE TO MIGRAINEURS? NO Morris Levin Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, USA
Migraine probably depends on a polygenic tendency exacerbated by environmental factors. Since it seems to be so common, could evolution be sustaining its prevalence? This would imply that even though this painful condition is detrimental in some ways, the net benefit to sufferers is positive. In fact there may be some advantages in some situations for a person to have migraine. One area is the tendency of migraineurs to notice and/or be affected by threats early. This would give the individual and advantage regarding these threats. And certainly it might be a trait the community would value. Another way to assess the benefit of having the migraine “trait” might be to note the many famous and productive people have had migraines and that our culture and civilization has been the better for it. But when one considers the disability produced by migraine on many millions of people, not to mention the basic level of suffering, the balance strongly suggests that migraine does not confer advantage and in fact is anti-survival.

Category: Neurology; Headache;