The Untapped Opportunity to Better Understand Migraine in Children and Adolescents: A Podcast with Serena Orr

By Kayt Sukel | February 13, 2023 | Posted in

“I think there’s so much opportunity in headache medicine in general, particularly in pediatric headache medicine. It’s been a field that’s been really underserved historically, even in the context of how underserved headache medicine is in general. There’s so much opportunity to understand the unique biology and experience of migraine in younger people.” — Serena Orr

Editor’s note: Serena Orr, MD, is a clinician-scientist and assistant professor of pediatrics and clinical neurosciences at the University of Calgary, and an attending pediatric neurologist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH), where she directs the pediatric headache program in the section of neurology. Dr. Orr’s research focuses on improving the acute treatment of migraine in children and adolescents and also aims to identify biopsychosocial predictors of outcomes in children and adolescents with migraine, and how these may be used to apply stratified care models to migraine prevention.

Serena Orr


In this MSC podcast she speaks with MSC freelance writer Kayt Sukel to discuss her path to pediatric migraine research, some of her recent work on the role of anxiety and depression in kids with migraine, how adverse childhood experiences affect pediatric migraine, as well as the need for more funding of headache research. Listen to the podcast below, which is also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. A transcript of the podcast is available here.

Related reading:
Anxiety and depressive symptoms and disorders in children and adolescents with migraine: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
Falla et al.
Jama Pediatr. 2022 Dec 1;176(12):1176-87.

Adverse childhood experiences and onset of migraine in Canadian adolescents: A cohort study. Hammond et al.
Headache. 2022 Mar;62(3):319-28. See MSC related news article.

The elephant in the room: How the underfunding of headache research stunts the field.
Orr SL, Shapiro RE.
Headache. 2022 Oct;62(9):1234-1238.

Kayt Sukel is a freelance writer based outside Houston, Texas.

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Kayt Sukel is a passionate traveler and science writer who has no problem tackling interesting (and often taboo) subjects spanning love, sex, science, technology, travel and politics. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, New Scientist, USA Today, Pacific Standard, the Washington Post, ISLANDS, Parenting, the Bark, American Baby, National Geographic Traveler, and the AARP Bulletin, among others. She has written stories about out-of-body experiences, artificial intelligence in medicine, new advances in pain treatments, and why one should travel to exotic lands with young children.

She is the author of two books: Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships (re-titled as This Is Your Brain on Sex: The Science Behind the Search for Love in paperback) and The Art of Risk: The New Science of Courage, Caution, and Chance.



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