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AAN: Migraine Prevalence Up in Celiac Disease, IBD Patients

Last Updated: April 27, 2012.

Patients with celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease and those self-classified with gluten sensitivity have increased prevalence of migraine, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 21 to 28 in New Orleans.

FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and those self-classified with gluten sensitivity (GS) have increased prevalence of migraine, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 21 to 28 in New Orleans.

Noting that European studies have identified higher prevalence of migraine in patients with celiac disease, Alexandra Dimitrova, M.D., from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues studied the association in U.S. patients. Five hundred two patients (188 with celiac disease, 111 with IBD, 25 with GS, and 178 controls) completed a self-administered survey which included details on medical history, medications, alcohol/caffeine/drug use, method/duration of celiac disease/IBD diagnosis, duration of gluten-free diet, and headache type and frequency. Migraine was diagnosed using the ID-Migraine screen, and severity was assessed with the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6).

The researchers found that 30 percent of celiac, 56 percent of GS, 23 percent of IBD, and 14 percent of control patients reported chronic headache. After adjustment for confounding variables, patients with celiac disease, GS, and IBD had increased prevalence of migraines versus controls (odds ratios, 3.79, 9.53, and 2.66, respectively). The impact of headaches, as measured on HIT-6, was significantly increased for patients with migraines who had celiac disease, compared with the other groups.

"Our findings suggest that migraine is a common neurologic manifestation in celiac disease, GS, and IBD," the authors write. "Future interventional studies should screen migraine patients for celiac disease, particularly those with treatment-resistant headaches."

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