Headache and Biomarkers Predictive of Vascular Disease in a Representative Sample of US Children | Cardiology | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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April 5, 2010

Headache and Biomarkers Predictive of Vascular Disease in a Representative Sample of US Children

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (Dr Nelson) and Department of Neurology, Children's National Medical Center (Drs Nelson and Lateef), Washington, DC; and Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland (Drs Richardson, Lateef, Khoromi, and Merikangas and Ms He).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(4):358-362. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.17

Objective  To examine the association of childhood headache disorders with markers of risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

Design  Information was collected on severe or recurrent headache or migraine in childhood or adolescence and on biomarkers predictive of vascular disease.

Setting  The National Health and Nutrition Survey, a nationally representative health survey.

Participants  Children or adolescents aged 4 to 19 years (n = 11 770) who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Survey in 1999 through 2004.

Main Exposure  Headache.

Main Outcome Measures  Body mass index; levels of C-reactive protein, homocysteine, serum and red blood cell folate, vitamin B12, methylmalonic acid, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, non–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and uric acid; and platelet count.

Results  Mean values for body mass index, C-reactive protein, and homocysteine were higher in children with than without headaches, and more children with headaches were in the highest quintile of risk for these factors. Serum and red blood cell folate levels were lower in children with headache. More children with headache were in the highest quintile of risk for 3 or more of these factors.

Conclusions  Several important risk factors for long-term vascular morbidity cluster in children and adolescents with severe or recurrent headache or migraine. Further study and screening of children with headaches may permit improved preventive management.