Children With Migraine at Risk for Poor School Performance

Association seen for children with episodic or chronic migraine; influenced by severity, duration

MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Children with migraine are significantly more likely to have poor performance at school, according to a study published in the Oct. 30 issue of Neurology.

Marco A. Arruda, M.D., Ph.D., from the Glia Institute in Ribeirão Preto in Brazil, and Marcelo E. Bigal, M.D., Ph.D., from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., conducted a population-based study involving 5,671 children from 87 cities and 18 Brazilian states who were interviewed by 124 teachers. Teachers were asked to provide information on student performance at school, and objective information on student performance was obtained. A validated headache questionnaire was used in parental interviews to identify children with episodic migraine (EM), chronic migraine (CM), and probable migraine (PM).

The researchers found that 9, 17.6, and 0.6 percent of children had EM, PM, and CM, respectively. Compared to those without headaches, children with EM and CM were significantly more likely to have poor performance at school. The association was significantly affected by severity and duration of headache attacks, abnormal scores of mental health, and nausea. Headache frequency, use of analgesics, and gender also impacted the association.

"Children with migraine are at an increased risk of having impairments in their school performance and determinants of the impact have been mapped," the authors write. "Future studies should address the directionality of the association and putative mechanisms to explain it."

One author is employed by Merck.

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