Adverse childhood experiences are associated with migraine and vascular biomarkers

Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 05/01/2012

In young women, adverse childhood events are associated with migraine, particularly chronic and transformed migraine, and with vascular biomarkers, especially inflammatory biomarkers. These findings implicate early life stress as a link between migraine and endothelial activation.

Methods

  • Vascular and metabolic biomarkers from women 18–50 years, including 125 with migraine (interictal) and 50 without migraine, were evaluated.
  • An ACE questionnaire was later collected by mail (response rate 80.6%, 100 migraineurs, 41 controls).

Results

  • Migraineurs and controls were demographically similar.
  • Migraineurs reported adversity more commonly than controls (71% vs 46%, odds ratio [OR] = 1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.07–2.17).
  • Average ACE scores were elevated in migraineurs as compared with controls (2.4 vs 0.76, P < .001).
  • ACE scores correlated with headache frequency (0.37, P = .001) and younger age of headache onset (–0.22, P = .04).
  • It also correlated with body mass index (r = 0.43, P = .0001), von Willebrand factor activity (r = 0.21, P = .009), tissue plasminogen activator antigen (r = 0.28, P = .004), prothrombin activation fragment (r = 0.36, P = .001), high–sensitivity C–reactive protein (r = 0.98, P = .0001), transforming growth factor–beta1 (r = 0.28, P = .003), tissue necrosis factor–alpha (r = 0.20, P = .03), interleukin–6 (r = 0.22, P = .03), adiponectin (r = –0.29, P = .003), and nitrate/nitrite concentration (r = –314, P = .001).
  • Logistic regression analyses (adjusted for vascular risk factors and migraine) demonstrated an association of childhood adversity with inflammatory factors (high–sensitivity C–reactive protein, interleukin–6, and tissue necrosis factor–alpha).

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