A new study finds that infants born to mothers who have migraine headaches are more than two-and-a-half times more likely to have colic than other infants.
Researchers say the results suggest that colic may be an early manifestation of migraine.
“Since migraine is a highly genetic disorder, our study suggests that infant colic may be an early sign that a child may be predisposed toward migraine headache later in life,” researcher Amy Gelfand, MD, a child neurologist with the Headache Center at the University of California, San Francisco, says in a news release.
“Colic may be another example of a childhood periodic syndrome, which is often a precursor to migraine,” Gelfand says.
Migraine Tied to Colic
In the study, researchers compared the risk of colic in infants among 154 mother-and-child pairs. The mothers were surveyed at their child’s 2-month-old well child visit at pediatric clinics in San Francisco.
The results showed nearly 29% of infants whose mothers had a history of migraine had colic, compared with 11% of those whose mothers did not have migraine.
In addition, infants whose fathers had a history of migraine were also more likely to have colic, but this relationship was not as significant as the mother-child link.
Researchers say that because migraine runs in families, asking about a mother’s history of migraine and/or her child’s experience with colic in infancy may help identify young people at risk for migraine later in life.
“This study helps to advance our understanding about the different expressions of migraine across a person’s lifetime,” Gelfand says.
The results will be presented in April at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in New Orleans.
These findings will be presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.
By Jennifer Warner WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD