Neurodevelopmental and mental health comorbidities in children and adolescents with epilepsy and migraine: a response to identified research gaps

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To determine the distribution and risk characteristics of comorbid neurodevelopmental and mental health comorbidities among children and adolescents (6–18y) with epilepsy or migraine (i.e. a neurological condition with shared features and potential etiology) compared with lower extremity fracture (LEF).


This case–control study involved a subset analysis of surveillance data in South Carolina, USA. Hospital admission, outpatient, and emergency department visits for individuals with an International Classification of Disease, 9th revision Clinical Modification diagnosis of epilepsy (n=6730; 54.5% females, 45.5% males; mean age [SD] 14y 2mo [4y 5mo]); migraine (n=10 495; 74.5% females, 25.5% males; 15y 6mo [2y 6mo]), or LEF (n=15 305; 40.3% females, 59.7% males; 13y 11mo [2y 11mo]) from January 1 2000 to December 31 2011 were identified. The association of epilepsy, migraine, or LEF with any mental health comorbidity was evaluated with univariate and multivariate polytomous logistic regression.


Comorbidities were highly prevalent in children and adolescents, with epilepsy with a rate of 29.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 28.6–30.8) for mental health comorbidities and 30.8% (95% CI: 29.7–31.9) for neurodevelopmental comorbidities. The odds of mental health comorbidity was 2.20 (95% CI: 2.02–2.39) for children and adolescents with epilepsy and 1.60 (95% CI: 1.48–1.73) for migraine, in reference to children and adolescents with LEF after adjusting for potential confounders. Prevalence and risk for specific comorbidities are presented.


Neuropathophysiological and psychosocial factors specific to epilepsy may provide more risk for adolescents with epilepsy compared to migraine.

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