University of Oulu

Strang-Karlsson, S., Alenius, S., Näsänen-Gilmore, P., Nurhonen, M., Haaramo, P., Evensen, K. A. I., Vääräsmäki, M., Gissler, M., Hovi, P., & Kajantie, E. (2021). Migraine in children and adults born preterm: A nationwide register linkage study. Cephalalgia, 41(6), 677–689.

Migraine in children and adults born preterm : a nationwide register linkage study

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Author: Strang-Karlsson, Sonja1,2,3; Alenius, Suvi1,3; Näsänen-Gilmore, Pieta1,4;
Organizations: 1Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
2Department of Clinical Genetics, HUSLAB, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
3Children’s Hospital, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
4Global Health group, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
5Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
6Department of Public Health and Nursing, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
7Unit for Physiotherapy Services, Trondheim Municipality, Trondheim, Norway
8Department of Physiotherapy, Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway
9Faculty of Medicine, PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
10Karolinska Institute, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Stockholm, Swede
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-08-23


Objective: Being born preterm is related to adverse health effects later in life. We studied whether preterm birth predicts the risk of migraine.

Methods: In this nationwide register study, we linked data from six administrative registers for all 235,624 children live-born in Finland (January 1987 to September 1990) and recorded in the Finnish Medical Birth Register. n = 228,610 (97.0%) had adequate data and were included. Migraine served as primary outcome variable and was stringently defined as a diagnosis from specialised health care and/or ≥2 reimbursed purchases of triptans. We applied sex- and birth year-stratified Cox proportional hazard regression models to compute hazard ratios and confidence intervals (95% confidence intervals) for the association between preterm categories and migraine. The cohort was followed up until an average age of 25.1 years (range: 23.3–27.0).

Results: Among individuals born extremely preterm (23–27 completed weeks of gestation), the adjusted hazard ratios for migraine was 0.55 (0.25–1.24) when compared with the full-term reference group (39–41 weeks). The corresponding adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the other preterm categories were: Very preterm (28–31 weeks); 0.95 (0.68–1.31), moderately preterm (32–33 weeks); 0.96 (0.73–1.27), late preterm (34–36 weeks); 1.01 (0.91–1.11), early term (37–38 weeks); 0.98 (0.93–1.03), and post term (42 weeks); 0.98 (0.89–1.08). Migraine was predicted by parental migraine, lower socioeconomic position, maternal hypertensive disorder and maternal smoking during pregnancy.

Conclusions: We found no evidence for a higher risk of migraine among individuals born preterm.

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Series: Cephalalgia
ISSN: 0333-1024
ISSN-E: 1468-2982
ISSN-L: 0333-1024
Volume: 41
Issue: 6
Pages: 677 - 689
DOI: 10.1177/0333102420978357
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: Supported by Academy of Finland (Grants 274794 and 315680 to Eero Kajantie); the European Commission (Horizon2020 award 733280 RECAP Research on Children and Adults Born Preterm); Norface DIAL project 462-16-040 Premlife Life Course Dynamics after Preterm Birth – Protective Factors for Social and Educational Transitions, Health and Prosperity”; Diabetes Research Foundation; Finnish Foundation for Pediatric Research; Juho Vainio Foundation; Novo Nordisk Foundation; Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation; Sigrid Jusélius Foundation; Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation. Dr. Strang-Karlsson received grant from HUS Helsinki University Hospital and The Wilhelm and Else Stockmann Foundation. Dr. Evensen was partly supported by funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program RECAP Preterm Project (grant no. 733280) and has received grant from the Liaison Committee of St. Olavs Hospital and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The sponsors had no role in the planning or execution of any part of the study.
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