Moms who suffer from migraine headaches are two and a half times more likely to have babies with colic than mothers with no migraine history, according to a small study at UC San Francisco.
Experts have long theorized that colic – excessive crying in an otherwise healthy infant – is connected to digestive problems. But 50 years of research has failed to turn up a credible link.
In this study, Amy Gelfland, M.D., a child neurologist with the university’s Headache Center, surveyed 154 mothers of 2-month-old infants, checking the babies’ colic status and the mothers’ migraine history. Among mothers with migraines, 29 percent of babies had colic, while only 11 percent of mothers without migraines had colicky babies.
Gelfland and colleagues believe that colic could be an early manifestation of “childhood periodic syndromes,” a group of symptoms including cyclical vomiting and abdominal migraine (where pain occurs in the belly) that are generally thought to be precursors to migraine in adulthood. Babies with colic could be more sensitive to light, sound, motion and other sources of stimulation in their environment – just like migraine sufferers.
The team next plans to follow a group of babies with colic to see whether they develop childhood periodic syndromes. Their current research will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in April.