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Pediatric Migraineurs and Their Parents Differ on Quality of Life Perceptions

Migraine affects millions of children, yet a new study has found that children with and without migraine rate the quality of their lives similarly. Parents of migraineurs, however, rank their children’s quality of life lower than the children do themselves.

Researchers from Brazil recently undertook a study to determine the degree to which migraine creates disability in children ages 8 to 12, and whether migraine affects children’s health-related quality of life (HRQL). This quality is measured by patients reporting about the physical, emotional, psychological, and social aspects of their lives.

Gabriela Natallia Ferracin, MD, a member of the faculty of the Ribeirão Preto Medical School in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues studied 50 children with migraine with aura and 50 children with no history of headache. Sixty-two percent of the young migraineurs reported no, mild, or moderate disability, and 14% reported severe disability.

In the preceding 3 months, migraine caused the children to miss, on average, 3.5 days of school and nearly 5 partial days. The children also missed a variety of family, social, and leisure activities for a total of nearly 24 days with a missed activity.

Missing activities did not correspond with reported HRQL, however, and migraineurs and non-migraineurs reported similar HRQL scores. The children with migraine indicated they felt they had worse school and emotional quality of life than their peers. In contrast, their parents indicated they felt their children had a worse general, physical, and psychosocial quality of life than children without migraine.

The researchers note that previous research has often found that information provided by parents is frequently different than what children provide, so they were not surprised by the findings.

“The present study supports the importance of applying self-evaluation questionnaires to both children and parents because the two groups have important but different perceptions and perspectives regarding HQRL,” the authors wrote.

The authors say that to fully understand the link between migraine and HRQL, longitudinal studies are needed.

The article appeared in the journal Headache.

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