July 3, 2009

Migraines harm academic future

Adolescents who suffer from migraines are more likely to get lower grades and less likely to graduate from high school, U.S. researchers said.

Our results show that migraine sufferers have trouble attending school and have trouble concentrating on the days they do make it to school, said Joseph Sabia, a professor at Washington's American University whose work focuses on health and economics.

Sabia and Daniel Rees, an economics professor at the University of Colorado, Denver, analyzed data from 280 siblings interviewed for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

By focusing on differences between siblings, we can rule out the possibility that family-level factors such as socioeconomic status are driving the relationship between migraine headache and academic performance, said Rees.

Adolescents who got migraines were associated with a 5 percent reduction in high school grade point average, a 5 percent reduction in the likelihood of graduating from high school, and a 15 percent reduction in the likelihood of attending college, Sabia and Rees found.