EHMTI-0290. Headaches in patients with autism spectrum disorder
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KeywordsMigraine Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism Spectrum Disorder Mental Health Condition Tension Type Headache
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by persistent deficits in social communication, social interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. In general, ASD is associated with pain insensitivity and self-injurious behavior. Support for these associated traits are derived mostly from anecdotal and clinical observations. Headache disorders like migraine can be a disabling condition but none has been reported among individuals with ASD.
To characterize the headache types experienced by patients with ASD and review their clinical profile.
A retrospective chart review of patients with ASD who presented in the neurology clinic from January 2011 to April 2013 was performed.
Eighteen patients were identified, 12 males and 6 females. Migraine was the most frequent headache type occurring in up to 61% (11/18) of patients. Eight of these 11 patients have migraine without aura; one with migraine with aura and two patients have both migraine with and without aura. Combined migraine and tension type headache was seen in 3 patients. Three had chronic daily headache and one had probable migraine. Age at presentation ranged from 5-16 years. All patients were verbal and all have co-morbid behavioral and mental health conditions.
Our data show that ASD patients, despite being known to have indifference to pain, can experience headaches; with migraine being the most common headache type in these patients referred in our neurology clinic.
No conflict of interest.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.