October 30, 2012
Migraines Affect Children’s School Testing Scores
Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Researchers recently found that children who have migraines have a greater likelihood of having test scores that are lower than the average school performance of students who didn´t have any migraines.
According to the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), migraines can be described as throbbing pain or intense pulsing around the head.
"Studies have looked at the burden of migraine for adolescents, but less work has been done to determine the effect of migraine on younger children," explained the study´s author Dr. Marcelo E. Bigal, a member of Merck & Co. and the American Academy of Neurology, in a prepared statement.
The study included 5,671 Brazilian kids who were between the ages of five and 12. The teachers of the students gave the researchers data focused on their students´ performances. The instructors also completed a screening questionnaire based off of the emotional and behavioral problems as well as interviewed parents on past medical history regarding headaches and other symptoms.
Based on the findings, the scientists discovered that those with migraines had a 30 percent higher chance of having test scores that were below the average school performance of children who did not have suffer from headaches. As well, the researchers discovered that 0.6 percent of the children suffered from chronic migraines or a migraine for 15 or more days per month. From the participants, nine percent of the children reported having episodic migraines. Furthermore, 17.6 percent stated that they had probable migraines, where they had all the factors but one of the criteria for migraines and so didn´t have the full criteria that corresponded to other forms of headache syndrome.
Overall, the connection between headaches and poor academic performance was seen more so with children who had migraines that lasted for a longer duration of time, those who had migraines that were of intense pain, or for kids that suffered from chronic migraines as well as for students who suffered from emotional or behavioral problems.
"With approximately one-fourth of school-age children having headaches with migraine features, this is a serious problem, especially for those with frequent, severe attacks that do not subside quickly," continued Bigal in the statement. "Parents and teachers need to take these headaches seriously and make sure children get appropriate medical attention and treatment."
AAN provides a number of resources for individuals who are interested in learning more about migraines. The organization reported that migraines could be found three times more in women than in men, affecting over 10 percent of the population throughout the world. A variety of factors can trigger migraines for individuals, including anxiety, hormonal changes, stress, lack of food or sleep, and dietary substances. Even though there is no absolute cure for migraines as researchers attempt to understand the pathophysiology of headaches, experts recommend that people work to prevent the attacks with medications or behavioral changes as well as attempt to lessen the symptoms during attacks.
The findings were recently published in the October 30 edition of Neurology.