MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Paul B. Rizzoli, M.D., FAAN, FAHS
Department of Neurology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Clinical and Fellowship Director, John R Graham Headache Center
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Migraine and other recurrent headache disorders disproportionately affect otherwise healthy, middle-aged people, particularly women, and are a leading cause of suffering and disability.
Accurate epidemiologic information is vital for providers, researchers and policy makers. In this paper we surveyed the most recent data from population-based studies in the United States to assess the burden and impact of these conditions. Our search included such sources as the National Health Interview Study (NHIS), the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) and the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS).
We found that the prevalence and burden of self-reported migraine and other severe headache has remained stable but high in the past 19 years, affecting roughly 1 out of every 6 Americans (15.3%) and 1 in 5 women (20.7%) over a 3-month period.
Among other findings was that headache is proportionately more burdensome those in middle age (elderly also), those who are unemployed and those who are disabled or who have low family income. Headache represents roughly 3% of all annual emergency department visits.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
- Roughly 1 in every 6 Americans and 1 in 5 women between the ages of 15 and 64 have experienced migraine or severe headache in the previous 3 months
- Women are more likely to have migraine than men
- Migraine disproportionately affects Native Americans and individuals who are uninsured or living in poverty.
- In 2014, headache or pain in the head was the fifth leading cause and accounted for 3% of all emergency department visits
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Monitoring accurate prevalence statistics in migraine will be increasingly relevant as treatment for migraine and other severe headaches moves to more specific, personalized and expensive treatments such as the new anti-CGRP antibodies. Appropriate deployment of such resources requires an accurate epidemiologic picture of the illness. Also, such information can fuel areas of interest for further research.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: The single point-in-time assessment of this cross-sectional study and the self-reported nature of headache in the surveyed reports could limit causal inference and introduce bias
Citation:The Prevalence and Impact of Migraine and Severe Headache in the United States: Figures and Trends From Government Health Studies
Rebecca Burch MD, Paul Rizzoli MD, Elizabeth Loder MD, MPH
First published: 12 March 2018
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