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Migraine in Children Under 7 Years of Age: a Review


Purpose of review: Despite the accumulation of a significant amount of data on pediatric headache, few studies have been conducted on its occurrence in children under 7 years of age. Within primary headaches in this age, migraine especially, turns out to be a disorder affecting up to 4% of the general population. An underestimate of its true prevalence can be due to lack of specific diagnostic markers, the frequent difficulty of describing pain in childhood, and the necessity of reliable parents’ reports. Thus, migraine in children under 7 years of age represents an important challenge for clinicians. The objective of this manuscript is to provide a comprehensive review of epidemiologic, clinic, and therapeutic aspects of migraine in this age. Recent findings: Current literature data show that migraine has some differences, especially in clinical and therapeutic terms, in this age group compared to subsequent ages. Furthermore, some evidences showing that an early onset of migraine may play an unfavorable role in its natural history, suggest an early identification and management of migraine in younger children. Moreover, we highlight the role that factors of prenatal and perinatal development can play in the predisposition and anticipation of migraine onset. Finally, open questions related to the several undefined features of migraine in this age are reported. Summary: Migraine in this pediatric population is absolutely not rare, represents an importan clinical challenge and probably has a negative predictive role.