Adverse Childhood Experiences Linked to Headache in Adulthood
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Adverse Childhood Experiences Linked to Headache in Adulthood

Odds of primary headache increase as the number of adverse childhood experiences increases

FRIDAY, Oct. 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with primary headache in adulthood, according to a review published online Oct. 25 in Neurology.

Claudia Sikorski, Ph.D., from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to examine the pooled effect of one or more ACEs on primary headache disorders in adulthood. Theories that describe how ACEs impact human development and disease across the life course were included in a narrative review. Thirty-two studies were identified; 28 were eligible for meta-analysis (154,739 participants in 19 countries).

The researchers found that occurrence of one or more ACEs was associated with primary headaches (pooled odds ratio, 1.48). The odds of primary headache increased as the number of ACEs increased (odds ratios, 1.24 for one ACE to 2.09 for four or more ACEs). A neurodevelopmental theory that classifies ACEs into threat or deprivation was tested for the narrative review; both threat and deprivation were independently associated with primary headaches (odds ratios, 1.46 and 1.35, respectively).

"Traumatic events in childhood can have serious health implications later in life," coauthor Catherine Kreatsoulas, Ph.D., of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said in a statement. "Our meta-analysis confirms that childhood traumatic events are important risk factors for headache disorders in adulthood, including migraine, tension headaches, cluster headaches, and chronic or severe headaches. This is a risk factor that we cannot ignore."

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