Colic, when an infant cries inconsolably, was believed to be a gastrointestinal ailment. Colicky babies abdomens can appear swollen, and they draw their legs up to their bellies, but treatments aimed at the digestive system are not usually effective.
But the new study, out of three European hospitals and following approximately children from ages 6 to 18, confirms a suspected link to migraines may be more fruitful.
Researchers found nearly three in four children who suffered from migraines between the ages of 6 and 18 also had colic as babies, while just one in four children without migraines suffered from colic as infants.
The study, published in the April 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, could help treat colic.
"It is already known that migraine can show with intestinal pain in childhood," said study senior author Dr. Luigi Titomanlio, head of the pediatric migraine and neurovascular diseases clinic at APHP Hospital Robert Debre in Paris, France. "Our results suggest that infantile colic could represent a form of migraine with age-specific expression."
"By extrapolation, having had colic could be a risk factor of migraine in teens with recurrent headaches," he said.