Risk of migraine in adulthood increased among males who suffer from growth restriction in utero
In the population-based Nord-Trøn-delag Health Study (HUNT 3), a validated headache questionnaire that differentiated between migraine and tension-type headache was administered to 4,557 females and 2,789 males aged 19–41 years. Responses were linked with data on weight and gestational age at birth obtained from the Norwegian Medical Birth Registry, and participants were categorized as appropriate for gestational age (AGA), small for gestational age (SGA), or very small for gestational age (VSGA).
A significant association between growth restriction in utero and migraine was noted among males (p<0.001), but not females (p=0.20). Males in the VSGA category, in particular, were at increased risk of migraine (odds ratio [OR], 2.73, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.63–4.58; p<0.001), while those categorized as SGA had an intermediate risk (OR, 1.50, 95 percent CI, 0.96–2.35; p=0.08) compared with males in the AGA category. No association between growth restriction and frequency of tension-type headache was noted for either gender.
These findings suggest that migraine is at least partly influenced by early life events and that males are particularly vulnerable, said the researchers.