Migraine is Most Common Phenotype of Concussion in Young Athletes

 New Study of Sports-Related Concussions in Teens
Presented at Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society
WASHINGTON, DC, June 17, 2015 – Against the backdrop of nationwide concern about head injuries sustained in high school and college sports, a new study confirms that migraine, or probable migraine, is the predominant phenotype experienced by concussed young athletes.
Evaluating 25 randomly selected sports-related concussion patients between the ages of 12-19, Devon Cohen, a third year medical student at The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, with Principal Investigator Frank Conidi, DO, MS, of the Florida Center for Headache & Sports Neurology, found that 100% of the patients experienced headache between the initial concussive event and return to play clearance. Additionally, 80% noted that the headache often worsened throughout the day, particularly with physical and/or cognitive activity. 
Their findings were presented at the 57th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society meeting here this week.
“The predominant headache phenotype was migraine or probable migraine with a mean visual analog pain score of 6.3 out of 10,” Ms. Cohen said. “We measured headache intensity using a 10 point visual analog scale as well as associated signs and symptoms, such as photophobia, phonophobia, nausea, vomiting, vestibular dysfunction, visual changes, neurocognitive symptoms, and worsening of headache with physical and cognitive activity – all hallmarks of migraine.”
Concussions occurred while athletes were participating in either football, soccer, basketball, hockey, softball, lacrosse, or gymnastics. Ms. Cohen noted that 5% experienced loss of consciousness, while 52% reported phonophobia, 48% reported nausea, and 72% reported neurocognitive symptoms.
_          “In light of national concern about concussion in young athletes, more studies are needed, but our work shows that migraines are very likely associated with concussion, even in athletes for whom return to play was delayed,” said Dr. Conidi.
The American Headache Society Annual Scientific meeting draws about 1,000 headache and migraine researchers and treatment specialists from around the world to hear the latest scientific and clinical information on headache and migraine.  This year’s program, “Drawing upon Headache Research,” included four days of teaching and scientific presentations.
The American Headache Society (AHS) is a professional society of health care providers dedicated to the study and treatment of headache and face pain. The Society’s objectives are to promote the exchange of information and ideas concerning the causes and treatments of headache and related painful disorders. Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of this organization. AHS activities include an annual scientific meeting, a comprehensive headache symposium, regional symposia for neurologists and family practice physicians, and publication of the journal Headache.  (www.americanheadachesociety.org)

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