Cluster headache is a rare and highly debilitating condition. It is characterised by recurrent excruciating headaches that last anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours, often with multiple episodes per day. It affects 1/1000 people and has an enormous impact on the lives of sufferers.
It has been described as one of the most painful conditions known to man and is associated with a three times increased odds of developing depression, with suicidal tendencies reported in 25-55% of patients.
We don’t not know the cause of cluster headache which makes treatment difficult. As a result, up to 20% of patients remain refractory to conventional therapies.
We do know, however, that it tends to run in families. In the literature it has been reported as being inherited in AD fashion with reduced penetrance. Those with a first degree relative with cluster headache are at a 5-18 fold increased risk of developing cluster headache.
In order to improve our understanding of the Cluster Headache, we hope to identify the genetic defects involved. This, in turn, will help to provide targets for treatment in the for future mechanistic and therapeutic studies.
If you have cluster headache and wish to participate in research, please contact us.