The following article is part of conference coverage from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from the AAN 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting.


A history of abuse is associated with worse migraine symptoms, including headache frequency, photophobia, hyperacusis, and ictal and interictal allodyina, according to study results presented during the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting, held from April 17 to 22, 2021.

Although previous studies suggested an association between abuse and migraine, only limited data correlate abuse with individual migraine symptoms. The objective of the current study was to determine the link between a history of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse with the severity of sensory hypersensitivity symptoms in patients with migraine.


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The study sample included 1020 adults with migraine from the American Registry for Migraine Research. All participants self-reported abuse history and also completed questionnaires to assess for anxiety, depression, photosensitivity, hyperacusis, and allodynia.

Approximately one-third (365 patients, 36%) of participants reported a history of abuse.

Statistical analyses indicated that abuse was associated with greater headache frequency (P =.019); ictal allodynia (P =.001); and anxiety, depression, photophobia, hyperacusis, and ictal allodynia (all P <.001).

Following adjustment for age, gender, and headache frequency, abuse was significantly associated with photophobia (B=0.111; P <.001), hyperacusis (B=4.328; P <.001), ictal allodynia (B=0.125; P <.001), and interictal allodynia (B=0.109; P =.002).

The association between abuse with photophobia, hyperacusis, and ictal allodynia was significantly mediated by anxiety and depression.

“Further research on the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the relationship between abuse, psychiatric comorbidities, and migraine symptoms is needed and could lead to interventions that reduce the negative impact of abuse on the expression and severity of migraine symptoms,” concluded the study researchers.

Reference

Trivedi M, Dumkrieger G, Chong C, Dodick D, Schwedt T. Impact of abuse on migraine symptoms and comorbidity: results from the American Registry for Migraine Research (ARMR). Presented at: the American Academy of Neurology 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting; April 17 to 22, 2021. Abstract S15.001.