HealthDay News — Children who experience migraines are significantly more likely to have poor performance at school, study results suggest.

Students at school’s in Brazil who had episodic migraines and chronic migraines were more likely to perform poorly in school compared with children without headaches, Marco A. Arruda, MD, PhD, of the Glia Institute in Ribeirão Preto in Brazil, and Marcelo E. Bigal, MD, PhD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., reported in Neurology.

Severity and duration of the headaches significantly influenced school performance (P<0.001 for both), they added.

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The population-based study involving 5,671 children from 87 cities and 18 Brazilian states. Children were interviewed by their teachers, who also provided information on student academic performance  consistent with that provided to supervising educational boards, including measures of overall academic achievements for the school year.

A validated headache questionnaire and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire were also administered in parental interviews to identify children with episodic migraine (EM), chronic migraine (CM) and probable migraine (PM).

Overall,  9% of children had episodic migraine, 17.6% had probable migraine, and 0.6% had chronic migraine. In addition to the severity and duration of headache attacks, the association between migraines and poor school performance was significantly affected by abnormal scores of mental health and nausea (P<0.001 for both).

Headache frequency, use of analgesics, and gender also impacted the association.

“Children with migraine are at an increased risk of having impairments in their school performance and determinants of the impact have been mapped,” the researchers wrote. “Future studies should address the directionality of the association and putative mechanisms to explain it.”


  1. Arruda MA, Bigal ME. Neurology. 2012; 79(18):1881-1888.