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Front. Neurol. | doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00078

Non-verbal cognitive abilities in children and adolescents affected by migraine and tension-type headache

 Lucia Margari1*,  Roberto Palumbi1,  Paola A. Lecce1, Francesco Craig2, Marta Simone1, Mariella Margari1, Silvana M. Seccia1 and Maura Buttiglione1
  • 1Scienze Mediche di Base, Neuroscienze e Organi di Senso, Università degli studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Italy
  • 2Eugenio Medea (IRCCS) - La Nostra Famiglia, Italy

Headache is one of the most common neurological disorder 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 nonverbal memory and sustained attention skills. However, we found that headache disability has a significant impact on specific cognitive domains related to sustained attention and nonverbal 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.

Keywords: Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, non-verbal cognitive abilities, non-verbal memory, Attention Skills, childhood, adolescence

Received: 03 Nov 2017; Accepted: 05 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Vincenzo Guidetti, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy

Reviewed by:

Viktor Farkas, Semmelweis University, Hungary
Yohannes W Woldeamanuel, MD, School of Medicine, Stanford University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Margari, Palumbi, Lecce, Craig, Simone, Margari, Seccia and Buttiglione. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Lucia Margari, Università degli studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Scienze Mediche di Base, Neuroscienze e Organi di Senso, Piazza Giulio Cesare, 11, Bari, 70100, Italia, Italy,