Saturday, 27 September 2014

Yes, people with autism do have headaches

I don't mean to be haughty but a sentence included in the paper by Victorio [1] led to the title of today's very quick post. Based on a chart review of patients diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) attending a neurology clinic, the author concluded that "ASD patients, despite being known to have indifference to pain, can experience headaches".

Pain is something which has cropped up quite a bit in the autism research arena and has appeared more than once on this blog (see here and see here). The suggestion of an 'indifference' to pain being potentially over-represented in relation to autism I think stretches back to some older work which I have to say, has been pretty widely disputed in more recent years [2].

The focus on migraine as "the most frequent headache type" reported by Victorio might also be quite interesting in light of other research linking migraine headaches to some of the sensory issues reported in cases of autism [3]. Moving migraine away from just the head was also a suggestion put forward by another author [4] which opens up a whole new world of possibilities...

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[1] Victorio M. Headaches in patients with autism spectrum disorder. The Journal of Headache and Pain 2014, 15(Suppl 1):B37.

[2] Nader R. et al. Expression of pain in children with autism. Clin J Pain. 2004 Mar-Apr;20(2):88-97.

[3] Sullivan JC. et al. The presence of migraines and its association with sensory hyperreactivity and anxiety symptomatology in children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. 2013 Sep 26;18(6):743-747.

[4] Casanova MF. The minicolumnopathy of autism: A link between migraine and gastrointestinal symptoms. Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(1):73-80.

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ResearchBlogging.org Victorio, M. (2014). EHMTI-0290. Headaches in patients with autism spectrum disorder The Journal of Headache and Pain, 15 (Suppl 1) DOI: 10.1186/1129-2377-15-S1-B37