• Alysa Salzberg

The strange connection between descendants of famous mutineers and a possible cure for migraines

With the COVID-19 epidemic on all of our minds, it can be easy to forget that many people continue to suffer from chronic health conditions. One of the most common (though fortunately not constant or lethal) is migraines, which affect an estimated 1 in 7 people worldwide – that is, about 14.7% of the global population.


Despite how common migraines are, no one knows exactly why some people get them and others don’t. And we don’t know how to stop them or cure the condition.


Most scientists believe migraines are a genetically inherited affliction. With this in mind, researchers recently made a very strange connection that may shed some light on migraines, and how to cure, treat, or prevent them.


Many descendants of the famous “Mutiny on the Bounty” incident still live on the same island as their ancestors, who arrived there in the late 18th century. Not ones to be distracted by tales of treason on the high seas, scientists have found a significant occurrence of migraines in this population – 23% of the Bounty’s crew’s descendants are afflicted with them.


Thanks to excellent genealogical record-keeping and an isolated population that’s been in the same place for centuries, researchers see this group as possibly holding the key to many migraine-related mysteries.


Read on to learn what exactly happened during and after the famous mutiny on the Bounty and, if you’re a migraine sufferer, what hope the rebellious crew’s descendants might hold for figuring out this mysterious condition.


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