The Comorbidity of Migraine and ADHD: Is There a Link?

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The greatest risk was observed in migraine with visual disturbances and attention-deficit/hyperactivity.
The greatest risk was observed in migraine with visual disturbances and attention-deficit/hyperactivity.

The comorbidity of migraine and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is strong and statistically significant, especially in participants who experience visual disturbances with migraine, according to research published in BMC Neurology.  

Researchers studied 26,456 adult participants who were part of the Danish Blood Donor Study. The participants were evaluated for ADHD based on the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) Version 1.1, a clinically validated questionnaire, and for migraine based on self-reporting. Of these participants, 24.2% screened positive for migraine and 2.61% had ADHD. Researchers also used logistic regression to study the relationship between migraine and ADHD and their link to endophenotypes.

Migraine was strongly linked with ADHD (odds ratio 1.8; 95% CI, 1.53-2.12). Results also showed a significant correlation between age and female gender. Migraine is twice as common in women, with onset between adolescence and late adulthood (median age 29 years). In addition, 0.90% claimed to have migraine and ADHD. The analysis also demonstrated that migraine with visual disturbance was generally associated with a marginally increased risk for ADHD independent of ADHD endophenotypes.

Researchers concluded that “migraine and ADHD were demonstrated to be comorbid disorders; the association with ADHD was most prominent for participants with migraine with visual disturbances.” They encourage future studies to examine how genetics and environment may contribute to the migraine and ADHD relationship.

Reference

Hansen TF, Hoeffding LK, Kogelman L, et al. Comorbidity of migraine with ADHD in adults [published online October 16, 2018]. BMC Neurol. doi: 10.1186/s12883-018-1149-6

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