Digital public defence: Sigrid Børte Sigrid Børte at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis Genetic and environmental causes of migraine. The HUNT Study for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Foto: Foto- og videotjenesten, Rikshospitalet

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The digital public defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

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Digitalt trial lecture - time and place

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Associate Professor Thomas Folkmann Hansen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark 
  • Second opponent: Associate Professor Andrea Carmine Belin, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor II Morten Lossius, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo Norway 

Chair of defence

Professor II Morten Carstens Moe, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal supervisor

Bendik Slagsvold Winsvold, Oslo University Hospital


Migraine is a common disorder, but there is still little knowledge about what causes it. However, it is likely to involve a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. 

The overall aim of the thesis was to examine both environmental and genetic risk factors for migraine. More specifically, the aims were to explore whether fetal growth restriction was associated with later development of migraine, to clarify the association between parental migraine and offspring migraine, separating maternal and paternal effects and to explore whether genetic variation in the mitochondrial genome was associated with migraine. 

Fetal growth restriction was associated with migraine in males, but not in females. This may indicate that disturbances in early brain development may affect the risk of migraine and that males are especially vulnerable. 

Both maternal and paternal migraine increased the odds of offspring migraine, but the odds were larger for mother-offspring than for father-offspring. The fact that the parent-offspring association was stronger in mothers than in fathers, may be due to inherited variation in mitochondrial DNA, which is strictly maternally inherited.

However, by performing the first mitochondrial genome-wide association study of migraine, there was no evidence that variation in mitochondrial DNA plays a role in migraine pathogenesis. In addition, no associations were found for nuclear variants in genes encoding mitochondrial proteins.  

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Published May 20, 2020 12:31 PM - Last modified June 8, 2020 10:47 AM