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Minerva Pediatrics 2022 February;74(1):1-6

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5276.21.06191-7


language: English

Correlation between primary headaches and learning disabilities in children and adolescents

Agnese ONOFRI 1, Luca OLIVIERI 2, Pamela SILVA 2, Michela BERNASSOLA 1, Elisabetta TOZZI 1

1 Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, Headache Center, Neuropsychiatric Clinic, San Salvatore Hospital, University of L’Aquila, Coppito, L’Aquila, Italy; 2 Neuropsychiatric Clinic, San Salvatore Hospital, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy

BACKGROUND: Primary headaches (H) and learning disabilities (LD) are frequent in childhood and can coexist in the same subject, but their correlation is not always clear. The aim of our study was to evaluate this relationship considering also any psychopathologies and their influence on the quality of life by considering an aspect such as school absences.
METHODS: One hundred and ninety-three children (8-18y) with H and LD assessed consecutively at the Headache Center of L’Aquila, from 2013 to 2018 are the sample. School problems were evaluated by Italian batteries for LD; psychopathology screening by clinical interview and SAFA test. The sample was divided into 3 groups (group 1: patients with H [N.=122], group 2: patients with LD [N.=37], group 3: patients with H+LD [N.=34]) in order to compare subjects with H and LD vs. subjects having only one disorder.
RESULTS: The most prevalent headache diagnosis was migraine without aura, but chronic tension headache (CTH) showed a stronger impact on quality of life. LD have a higher prevalence in our sample (9.44%) than in general Italian population (3.2%). In group 3 was higher prevalence of anxiety disorders (P=0.050) and 50% of patients with CTH was absent from school due to headache.
CONCLUSIONS: LD can be related to headache chronicization and to a higher prevalence of psychopathologies and school absences, so an early diagnosis of LD in patients with H is crucial to prevent the worsening of the headache itself and of quality of life.

KEY WORDS: Headache; Learning disabilities; Anxiety

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