A new discovery reported in a recent issue of the journal Nature Genetics concluded that people with a specific variant of a gene known as PHACTRI, are at a reduced risk of suffering cerebral artery dissection, which is caused by a tear in an artery that leads to the brain. This disease is a major cause of stroke in young people and the gene variant is also a protector against migraines and affects the risk of heart attack. Discovery of this gene may lead to preventive strategies in the future.
In the large study the entire genome of 1,400 patients with cerebral artery dissection were screened in addition to 14,400 people without the disease. The researchers said “Further genetic analysis and worldwide collaboration of this kind provide hope of pin pointing the underlying mechanisms that cause stroke. The Bio-Repositry of DNA in Strokes (BRAINS) study I am leading is creating a large stroke DNA bio-bank which will give an exciting opportunity to identify the genes directly linked to the condition.”