Abuse During Childhood Tied to Migraine in Adulthood

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Adults with a history of childhood neglect or abuse are more likely to have migraine headaches than tension-type headaches, according to new research published in Neurology.

Adults who experienced at least two of three types of abuse — emotional neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse — had increased odds of having migraine compared to those who faced only one type of abuse earlier in life, reported Gretchen M. Tietjen, MD, of the University of Toledo, and colleagues.

The cross-sectional analyses took into account responses to the 2007 American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) study, which included 8,305 adults with migraine (episodic and chronic) and 1,429 adults with episodic tension-type headache.

Maltreatment rates were significantly higher in the migraine group compared to the tension-type headache group across all three types of maltreatment: emotional neglect (24.5% vs 21.5%), emotional abuse (22.5% vs 16.7%), and sexual abuse (17.7% vs 13.3%). After adjusting for depression and anxiety, researchers found that there was still a 33% higher chance of migraine for those who suffered emotional abuse, but not for emotional neglect and sexual abuse. The loss of influence of emotional neglect and sexual abuse in depression or anxiety suggests possible mediation or confounding.

The researchers suggest that health care professionals consider incorporating a questionnaire about adverse childhood events during clinical assessment.

Child abuse
Abuse During Childhood Tied to Migraine in Adulthood

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship of recalled adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) with migraine and episodic tension-type headache (ETTH).

Gretchen M. Tietjen, MD, of the University of Toledo, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of ACEs among 2007 American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study survey respondents with ETTH and migraine. They modeled headache type using logistic regression adjusting for sociodemographic variables (age, race, sex, income), depression, and anxiety, and headache day frequency using ordinal logistic regression with a proportional odds model.

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