Non-verbal cognitive abilities in children and adolescents affected by Migraine and tension-type headache: An observational study using the Leiter-3

Lucia Margari, Roberto Palumbi, Paola A. Lecce, Francesco Craig, Marta Simone, Mariella Margari, Silvana M.C. Seccia, Maura Buttiglione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Headache is one of the most common neurological disorders in developmental age. Several studies investigated the relationship between headache and emotional/behavioral problems. We studied non-verbal cognitive abilities, including non-verbal memory and attention skills, in order to evaluate the impact of primary headache on these domains. The latest version of the cognitive battery Leiter International Performance Scale - Third Edition (Leiter-3), a non-verbal test, was administered to 35 children and adolescents affected by migraine or tension-type headache and to 23 healthy subjects. We found that frequency of attacks and headache disability (evaluated with the Pediatric Migraine Disability Assessment Score Questionnaire) significantly correlate with non-verbal memory and sustained attention skills. However, we found that headache disability has a significant impact on specific cognitive domains related to sustained attention and non-verbal memory skills. The relationship between headache and memory/attention deficits may have an explanation based on a possible common physiopathology ground, including noradrenergic and dopaminergic pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number78
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - Mar 5 2018



  • Adolescence
  • Attention skills
  • Childhood
  • Migraine
  • Non-verbal cognitive abilities
  • Non-verbal memory
  • Tension-type headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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