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Who Does it Affect?

Higher Total Cholesterol and Triglycerides in Childhood are a Risk Factor for Migraine in Later Life

June 26, 2013 08:00 AM

BOSTON, JUNE 26, 2013 – A new study by researchers at the University of Iowa shows that an adverse lipid profile in childhood is a risk factor for migraine later in life, and that adults with migraine had significantly higher diastolic blood pressure as young adults.

The study, presented this week at the International Headache Congress scientific meeting, sought to identify cardiovascular risk factors in children and their association with migraine in later life.

Obesity and other cardiovascular risk factors have been associated with migraine, but a cause-effect relationship has not been demonstrated,” said Ana Recober, MD, lead author of the study. “Our goal was to determine whether these cardiovascular risk factors precede the onset of migraine.”

Dr. Recober and her colleagues used data from the Muscatine Study, an ongoing population-based longitudinal cohort study that began in 1970 and has followed school-age children into adulthood. Body mass index, triceps skinfold thickness, total cholesterol, total triglycerides, and diastolic and systolic blood pressure were measured between 1970 and 1981 in school age participants. Serial measurements of these and other parameters were obtained from examinations in young- and middle-adulthood.  A screening questionnaire that included the ID Migraine questions and other socio-demographic information was mailed to members of the Muscatine Study Longitudinal Adult Cohort. Those who screened positive for migraine underwent a semi-structured telephone interview.

“Our results are the first to suggest that adults with migraine have significantly higher triglycerides in childhood and higher diastolic blood pressure as young adults,” she said. “However, these findings are still preliminary, as the data from the telephone interviews and more detailed cardiovascular information need to be fully analyzed.”

The International Headache Congress, hosted this year by the American Headache Society, draws about 1,000 headache and migraine researchers and treatment specialists from around the world to hear the latest scientific and clinical information.  This year’s theme – “Revolutionizing Headache Care Through Science” – is a four-day program of teaching and scientific presentations.


Some 36 million Americans suffer from migraine, more than have asthma or diabetes combined.  More than six million Americans suffer from chronic migraine, a highly disabling neurological disorder. Migraine can be extremely disabling and costly, accounting for more than $20 billion in direct (e.g. doctor visits, medications) and indirect (e.g. missed work, lost productivity) expenses each year in the United States.


IHS, founded in the United Kingdom in 1982, is the world's leading membership organization for those with a professional commitment to helping people affected by headache. The purpose is to advance headache science, education, and management, and promote headache awareness worldwide. IHS publishes the international journal Cephalalgia.


The American Headache Society (AHS) is a professional society of health care providers dedicated to the study and treatment of headache and face pain. The Society's objectives are to promote the exchange of information and ideas concerning the causes and treatments of headache and related painful disorders. Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of this organization. AHS activities include an annual scientific meeting, a comprehensive headache symposium, regional symposia for neurologists and family practice physicians, publication of the journal Headache and sponsorship of the AHS Committee for Headache Education (ACHE).





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