Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Headache in China more likely to be migraine

Migraine accounts for almost 40% of headaches treated in specialist clinics in Beijing
by Michael Woodhead
In contrast to other counties, migraine seems to be the most common form of headache seen in specialist headache clinics, Beijing researchers report.
In a review of 1843 headache patients treated at the headache clinic of the General Hospital for PLA in Beijing, researchers found that migraine and tension-type headache are the two most common presentations, accounting for 39% and 33% of the total patients, respectively.
These findings are in contrast to international studies in which the proportion of headaches is found to be 11% for migraine, and 42% for tension-type headache.
Dr Zhao Dong and colleagues at the International Headache Center, Department of Neurology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, say that  there may be racial or social factors that determine the character of headache treated at specialist clinics in China.
Their study also found that  cluster headache and other trigeminal autonomic headaches were much less common than other severe headaches such as migraine but nevertheless more than 5% of patients had these kinds of headache.
"The reasonable explanation may be the fact that cluster headache is an excruciating headache syndrome and patients often responded poor to nonspecific treatment such as analgesics and the low recognition rate by many physicians and even neurologist. As a result, these patients are willing to go to headache clinic for specific treatment," they suggest.
The peak ages of tension type headache at onset for males and females were both in the 30–39 years age group, but the most likely period of migraine seems to be earlier, at 20–29 years of age for females and 10–19 years of age for males.
Almost 15% of headache patients were given an additional diagnosis of chronic daily headache, of which half were defined as medication-overuse headaches.
The researchers say their study gives a more accurate picture of headache in Chinese specialist clinics as they used the criteria define by the International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition.
Source: PLOS One

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