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Colic in infancy linked to migraines later in childhood

But no tie to tension headaches shows up in data

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The inconsolable crying some infants go through, known as colic, is associated with migraine headaches later in childhood, researchers report in the April 17 Journal of the American Medical Association. Luigi Titomanlio of Paris Diderot University and colleagues identified 208 children and teens, ranging in age from six to 18, who had been diagnosed at an emergency department with migraines. As a control group, the scientists found 471 children of matching ages who had shown up at emergency rooms for minor traumas. The researchers then obtained childhood histories for both groups.

While 73 percent of the migraine kids had had colic in infancy, only 27 percent of the controls had. Children with migraines were also more prone to childhood abdominal pain. An analysis of a separate group of children diagnosed with tension-related headaches showed no association with colic. 

Unconfirmed hypotheses link migraines with exposure as a baby to cow’s milk or a lack of breast-feeding in infancy, the authors note. Leon Epstein and Phyllis Zee of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, also writing in JAMA, point out that genetics seem to affect migraine risk and that disruption of the sleep-wake cycle can trigger migraines.

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