Childhood and adolescent migraine: A neuropsychiatric disorder?

Umberto Balottin, Matteo Chiappedi, Maura Rossi, Cristiano Termine, Giuseppe Nappi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Migraine is a neurological disorder characterized by unilateral head pain, nausea and/or vomiting and altered sensory perception (particularly phono- and/or photophobia). It is a common and disabling condition in children and adolescents, just as it is in adults; its origins, pathophysiology and long-term course are still not fully understood.Biological factors are currently held to be crucial in the aetiopathogenesis of primary headaches, such as migraine. In children and adolescents, we hypothesize that for migraine to develop, life events and their psychological processing are fundamental and can act in two different ways: either as a predisposing factor, inducing a chronic state of anxiety or depression (even subclinical), or as a trigger factor, activating a cascade of psychological events which, in turn, activate the biological mechanisms that produce the migraine attack. According to our hypothesis, psychological processing of life events (i.e. how the child perceives and mentally processes them) is the main factor in migraine aetiopathogenesis. This hypothesis has important implications in terms of diagnostic and therapeutic choices for children and adolescents with migraine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-781
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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