Headache subtypes: 30-year prospective cohort study

This BMJ study included 590 people aged 19-20 from a cohort of 4,500 residents of Zurich, Switzerland, interviewed 7 times across 30 years of follow-up.

The one-year prevalence of subtypes of headache were:

- 1% (female:male ratio of 2.8) for migraine with aura
- 11% (female:male ratio of 2.2) for migraine without aura
- 11% (female:male ratio of 1.2) for tension-type headache

The cumulative 30-year prevalence of headache subtypes were:

- 3% for migraine with aura
- 36% for migraine without aura
- 29% for tension-type headache

Despite the high prevalence of migraine without aura, most cases were transient and only 20% continued to have migraine for more than half of the follow-up period.

There was a substantial crossover among the subtypes and no specific pattern of progression.

The longitudinal overlap among subtypes of headache shows the developmental heterogeneity of headache syndromes.

References:

Magnitude, impact, and stability of primary headache subtypes: 30 year prospective Swiss cohort study. BMJ, 2011.

Image source: Openclipart.org, public domain.

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