Headaches are common in children. Nearly two out of three children will have a headache by age 15. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, headache is the most common form of pain. It is also a major reason cited for children’s days missed at school. Without proper treatment, headaches can be severe and interfere with daily activities. Investigators at Nationwide Children’s Hospital are investigating ways to improve diagnosis and management of headache and work to identify disorders linked to migraine.
MTHFR 677C>T Gene Mutation May Influence Migraine Headaches in Children
MTHFR 677C>T mutation has been linked to an increased risk for stroke, coronary artery disease, and migraine headaches. This study suggests that the MTHFR TT genotype may influence migraine susceptibility in children because there was a higher proportion of migraine patients with the MTHFR TT homozygous genotype.
Access an abstract of this study: Role of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene (MTHFR) 677C>T polymorphism in pediatric cerebrovascular disorders. J Child Neurol. 2011 Mar;26(3):318-21.
Chronic Daily Headache, Medication Overuse, and Obesity in Children and Adolescents.
Obesity and headaches are common in children and adults. Adult studies suggest obesity is a risk factor for chronic daily headache and increased migraine frequency and severity. Data did not show increased incidence of overweight in children with medication overuse or chronic migraine. This contrasts with adult data, which have suggested a closer link between chronic migraine and obesity and have not supported a link with chronic tension-type headache.
Access an abstract of this study: Chronic Daily Headache, Medication Overuse, and Obesity in Children and Adolescents. J Child Neurol. 2011 Sep 27. [Epub ahead of print]
Headaches and Hormones
This article discusses the role of hormones in headache, with specific emphasis on the role of sex hormones, obesity and pseudotumor.
Access an abstract of this study: Headaches and hormones. Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2010 Jun;17(2):100-4.
Sociodemographic Differences in Diagnosis and Treatment of Pediatric Headache
The authors investigated the sociodemographic differences in receiving a headache diagnosis for pediatric health care visits using two nationally representative databases. For those visits involving a headache diagnosis, the authors explored two possible disparities in care – being diagnosed by a neurologist and being prescribed an evidence-based medication. They conclude that some sociodemographic disparities exist in pediatric headache care across the United States.
Access an abstract of this study: Sociodemographic differences in diagnosis and treatment of pediatric headache. J Child Neurol. 2010 Apr;25(4):435-40.
Motivational Interviewing in Adolescents with Medication Overuse Headaches, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Ann Pakalnis)
The role of orthostatic intolerance the development of migraine and post-concussion headaches in adolescents.
The purpose of the study is to identify the role that orthostatic intolerance has on the development of migraine and post-concussion headaches in adolescents. (Geoffrey Heyer)
Childhood and adolescent migraine prevention with amitriptyline and topiramate (CHAMPS).
This is a randomized double blind study utilizing topiramate or amitriptyline in the prophylaxis of episodic or chronic migraine, in children and adolescents from 8-17 years of age. This is a NIH-funded, multi-site project. (Ann Pakalnis)