Childhood Abuse and Migraine: Epidemiology, Sex Differences, and Potential Mechanisms

Authors

  • Gretchen E. Tietjen MD,

    1. From the Department of Neurology, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, USA (G.E. Tietjen); Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University, Bayview, Baltimore, MD, USA (B.L. Peterlin).
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  • B. Lee Peterlin DO

    1. From the Department of Neurology, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, USA (G.E. Tietjen); Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University, Bayview, Baltimore, MD, USA (B.L. Peterlin).
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  • Conflict of Interest: None.

G.E. Tietjen, 3000 Arlington Avenue, MS 1195, Toledo, OH 43614, USA. Email: gretchen.tietjen@utoledo.edu

Abstract

(Headache 2011;51:869-879)

Migraine and maltreatment are both common conditions that are more prevalent in women. Epidemiological evidence supports an association between childhood abuse and headache, as well as pain in general, although some controversy exists based on methodological concerns of studying the influence of remote, traumatic, stigmatizing events in an often depressed population. There is a growing scientific body of knowledge regarding the neurobiological effects of abuse on brain function and structure that suggest a possible role of early life stress in the pathogenesis of migraine, and a differential impact based on sex. Advances in our understanding of the basic mechanisms by which an adverse environment interacts with and changes the genome, may suggest new treatment strategies.

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