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Teen Migraines

May 10, 2006

Kids will fake all sorts of illnesses to get out of school and family activities. But sometimes their symptoms are real.


Suffering in silence. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Many teens are not getting treatment for their disabling migraines. That’s according to neurologist Paul Winner of the Palm Beach Headache Center in Florida. He and his colleagues analyzed survey data and found that more than 6 percent of teens get migraines—a surprisingly high number. What’s more, only 19 percent of teens who qualify for preventative treatment actually get any. Winner says some parents mistakenly think their kids are faking.

PAUL WINNER (Palm Beach Headache Center in Florida):
They can do other things a lot easier than basically make believe they have one of these headaches we call migraine. If you have an adolescent that turns the stereo off, that’s very quiet and doesn’t want to eat dinner or lunch, something’s wrong and you need to find out why.

He adds that many teens don’t seek treatment because they don’t realize their headaches are abnormal. ‘m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.