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20 July 2005

Kids 'draw' headaches to help docs

Kids who draw images of their headache pain are helping doctors better diagnose and treat the children's migraines.

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Kids who draw images of their headache pain are helping doctors better diagnose and treat the children's migraines.

Doctors say they often have trouble diagnosing a youngster with a migraine or other severe headache, noting that there is no definitive test, and that children often have trouble describing their symptoms.

But when patients ages 4-to-19 were asked to draw pictures to describe their pain, they responded with images of a frowning person playing the drums inside a big head, or with an image of a hammer and chisel pounding into the top of a person's head. Images that indicated symptoms of migraine, notably including a halo above the eyes, matched the clinical diagnosis of migraine in some 87 percent of cases, the Associated Press reports.

Results of the research, performed by scientists from the University of Wisconsin and Tufts University in Boston, are reported in the March issue of Paediatrics.

 
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