What is the evolutionary advantage of migraine?
Article first published online: 11 OCT 2002
Volume 22, Issue 8, pages 624–632, October 2002
How to Cite
Loder, E. (2002), What is the evolutionary advantage of migraine?. Cephalalgia, 22: 624–632. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-2982.2002.00437.x
- Issue published online: 11 OCT 2002
- Article first published online: 11 OCT 2002
- Received 19 November 2001, accepted 14 May 2002
- natural selection;
Susceptibility to migraine is determined by genetic factors and is therefore subject to the forces of natural selection. Migraine is a common and ancient disorder whose prevalence may be increasing, suggesting that a migraine-prone nervous system may be associated with reproductive or survival advantages. Five evolutionary explanations are reviewed that might account for the persistence of migraine: (i) migraine as a defence mechanism; (ii) migraine as a result of conflict with other organisms; (iii) migraine as result of novel environmental factors; (iv) migraine as a trade-off between genetic harms and benefits; and (v) migraine as a design constraint. An evolutionary perspective on migraine allows the generation of important hypotheses about the disorder and suggests rewarding possibilities for further research.