Adolescent Migraine

by Teri Robert, MyMigraineConnection Lead Expert

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Adolescent Migraine May Subside With Age

One of the most insidious characteristics of Migraine disease is that it can strike people of any age, including very young children. Any parent, especially one who experiences Migraines, would tell you that they'd rather have the Migraine attack than watch their child suffer through one. Many parents express feelings of guilt for passing Migraine disease on to their children.

Migraine disease is a potentially disabling disease common in children and adolescents. Now, for children and adolescents with Migraine disease and for their families, there's potentially good news. A new study published in the journal Neurology suggests that their prognosis is excellent, that they may "grow out of" their Migraine or have less severe Migraines as they get older. However, these are the conclusions of one small study, the results of which raise some questions.

Study objective

To determine the long-term outcome of Migraine attacks in adolescents and to identify possible factors affecting their prognosis.

Study methods

Eighty children from a primary school in southern Italy were screened and assigned a Migraine diagnosis from the International Headache Society's International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD), 1st edition. These children, ages 11 to 14 years, were entered into a 10-year observational study. Some students with "unclassified headaches" were included in the study with a Migraine diagnosis.

Sixteen of the of 80 subjects who were evaluated and diagnosed in 1989 dropped out of the study at the first five-year follow up in 1994. In 1999, four subjects refused to continue participation and five could not be located. The remaining 55 participants were again evaluated for Migraine. Subjects were considered to be unaffected by Migraine if they had been Migraine-free for a period of 12 consecutive months.

Study results

Results were limited to the initial assessment and subsequent follow up evaluations of the 55 subjects who remained in the study at its completion in 1999. Of the 55 remaining subjects:

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