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Children’s drawings of headache pain were accurate for diagnosing migraine

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 QUESTION: In children and adolescents with headache, are their drawings of headache pain accurate for diagnosing migraine?


Blinded comparison of children’s drawings with clinical diagnosis.


A pediatric neurology clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


226 children who were 4 to 19 years of age (mean age 11.4 y, 54% girls) and had headache.

Description of test and diagnostic standard

Children were given a blank, unlined, white piece of paper (8.5 × 11 inches) and a number 2 pencil with a rubber. They were asked to draw a picture of themselves having a headache, showing where the pain was, what the pain felt like, and any other changes or symptoms that occurred before or during the headache. When children complained of having >1 type of headache, they drew a …

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  • Source of funding: No external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr C E Stafstrom, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA. E-mail stafstrom{at}