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Keywords:

  • anorexia nervosa;
  • bulimia nervosa;
  • migraine;
  • major depression;
  • epidemiology

ABSTRACT

Objective

The association between eating disorders and migraine remains unclear.

Method

We identified women with lifetime diagnoses of anorexia nervosa (AN) (N = 55) and bulimia nervosa (BN) (N = 60) and their co-twins from the FinnTwin16 cohort born in 1975–1979 (N = 2,825 women). Eating disorder and major depressive disorder (MDD) diagnoses were obtained from clinical interviews and data on migraine by self-report questionnaire. The women with eating disorders were compared with their unaffected co-twins and with unrelated women from the same birth cohorts.

Results

The prevalence of migraine was 12% in the general female population, but 22% for both AN and BN (odds ratio 2.0, p = .04). The prevalence of MDD was high in women with an eating disorder (42%). MDD was strongly associated with migraine (odds ratio 3.0, p < .0001) and explained the association between eating disorders and migraine. The highest migraine prevalence (36%) was found in women with both an eating disorder and MDD. Pairwise twin analyses also supported the clustering of migraine, MDD and eating disorders.

Discussion

Women with a lifetime diagnosis of an eating disorder were twice as likely to report a history of migraine as unrelated women from the same cohort; this relationship was explained by comorbid MDD. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:884–887)