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1.  Neuroimaging for the Evaluation of Chronic Headaches 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objectives of this evidence based review are:
i) To determine the effectiveness of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in the evaluation of persons with a chronic headache and a normal neurological examination.
ii) To determine the comparative effectiveness of CT and MRI scans for detecting significant intracranial abnormalities in persons with chronic headache and a normal neurological exam.
iii) To determine the budget impact of CT and MRI scans for persons with a chronic headache and a normal neurological exam.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Headaches disorders are generally classified as either primary or secondary with further sub-classifications into specific headache types. Primary headaches are those not caused by a disease or medical condition and include i) tension-type headache, ii) migraine, iii) cluster headache and, iv) other primary headaches, such as hemicrania continua and new daily persistent headache. Secondary headaches include those headaches caused by an underlying medical condition. While primary headaches disorders are far more frequent than secondary headache disorders, there is an urge to carry out neuroimaging studies (CT and/or MRI scans) out of fear of missing uncommon secondary causes and often to relieve patient anxiety.
Tension type headaches are the most common primary headache disorder and migraines are the most common severe primary headache disorder. Cluster headaches are a type of trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia and are less common than migraines and tension type headaches. Chronic headaches are defined as headaches present for at least 3 months and lasting greater than or equal to 15 days per month. The International Classification of Headache Disorders states that for most secondary headaches the characteristics of the headache are poorly described in the literature and for those headache disorders where it is well described there are few diagnostically important features.
The global prevalence of headache in general in the adult population is estimated at 46%, for tension-type headache it is 42% and 11% for migraine headache. The estimated prevalence of cluster headaches is 0.1% or 1 in 1000 persons. The prevalence of chronic daily headache is estimated at 3%.
Neuroimaging
Computed Tomography
Computed tomography (CT) is a medical imaging technique used to aid diagnosis and to guide interventional and therapeutic procedures. It allows rapid acquisition of high-resolution three-dimensional images, providing radiologists and other physicians with cross-sectional views of a person’s anatomy. CT scanning poses risk of radiation exposure. The radiation exposure from a conventional CT scanner may emit effective doses of 2-4mSv for a typical head CT.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used to aid diagnosis but unlike CT it does not use ionizing radiation. Instead, it uses a strong magnetic field to image a person’s anatomy. Compared to CT, MRI can provide increased contrast between the soft tissues of the body. Because of the persistent magnetic field, extra care is required in the magnetic resonance environment to ensure that injury or harm does not come to any personnel while in the environment.
Research Questions
What is the effectiveness of CT and MRI scanning in the evaluation of persons with a chronic headache and a normal neurological examination?
What is the comparative effectiveness of CT and MRI scanning for detecting significant intracranial abnormality in persons with chronic headache and a normal neurological exam?
What is the budget impact of CT and MRI scans for persons with a chronic headache and a normal neurological exam.
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on February 18, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January, 2005 to February, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with an unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established.
Inclusion Criteria
Systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, observational studies
Outpatient adult population with chronic headache and normal neurological exam
Studies reporting likelihood ratio of clinical variables for a significant intracranial abnormality
English language studies
2005-present
Exclusion Criteria
Studies which report outcomes for persons with seizures, focal symptoms, recent/new onset headache, change in presentation, thunderclap headache, and headache due to trauma
Persons with abnormal neurological examination
Case reports
Outcomes of Interest
Primary Outcome
Probability for intracranial abnormality
Secondary Outcome
Patient relief from anxiety
System service use
System costs
Detection rates for significant abnormalities in MRI and CT scans
Summary of Findings
Effectiveness
One systematic review, 1 small RCT, and 1 observational study met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The systematic review completed by Detsky, et al. reported the likelihood ratios of specific clinical variables to predict significant intracranial abnormalities. The RCT completed by Howard et al., evaluated whether neuroimaging persons with chronic headache increased or reduced patient anxiety. The prospective observational study by Sempere et al., provided evidence for the pre-test probability of intracranial abnormalities in persons with chronic headache as well as minimal data on the comparative effectiveness of CT and MRI to detect intracranial abnormalities.
Outcome 1: Pre-test Probability.
The pre-test probability is usually related to the prevalence of the disease and can be adjusted depending on the characteristics of the population. The study by Sempere et al. determined the pre-test probability (prevalence) of significant intracranial abnormalities in persons with chronic headaches defined as headache experienced for at least a 4 week duration with a normal neurological exam. There is a pre-test probability of 0.9% (95% CI 0.5, 1.4) in persons with chronic headache and normal neurological exam. The highest pre-test probability of 5 found in persons with cluster headaches. The second highest, that of 3.7, was reported in persons with indeterminate type headache. There was a 0.75% rate of incidental findings.
Likelihood ratios for detecting a significant abnormality
Clinical findings from the history and physical may be used as screening test to predict abnormalities on neuroimaging. The extent to which the clinical variable may be a good predictive variable can be captured by reporting its likelihood ratio. The likelihood ratio provides an estimate of how much a test result will change the odds of having a disease or condition. The positive likelihood ratio (LR+) tells you how much the odds of having the disease increases when a test is positive. The negative likelihood ratio (LR-) tells you how much the odds of having the disease decreases when the test is negative.
Detsky et al., determined the likelihood ratio for specific clinical variable from 11 studies. There were 4 clinical variables with both statistically significant positive and negative likelihood ratios. These included: abnormal neurological exam (LR+ 5.3, LR- 0.72), undefined headache (LR+ 3.8, LR- 0.66), headache aggravated by exertion or valsalva (LR+ 2.3, LR- 0.70), and headache with vomiting (LR+ 1.8, and LR- 0.47). There were two clinical variables with a statistically significant positive likelihood ratio and non significant negative likelihood ratio. These included: cluster-type headache (LR+ 11, LR- 0.95), and headache with aura (LR+ 12.9, LR- 0.52). Finally, there were 8 clinical variables with both statistically non significant positive and negative likelihood ratios. These included: headache with focal symptoms, new onset headache, quick onset headache, worsening headache, male gender, headache with nausea, increased headache severity, and migraine type headache.
Outcome 2: Relief from Anxiety
Howard et al. completed an RCT of 150 persons to determine if neuroimaging for headaches was anxiolytic or anxiogenic. Persons were randomized to receiving either an MRI scan or no scan for investigation of their headache. The study population was stratified into those persons with a Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADS) > 11 (the high anxiety and depression group) and those < 11 (the low anxiety and depression) so that there were 4 groups:
Group 1: High anxiety and depression, no scan group
Group 2: High anxiety and depression, scan group
Group 3: Low anxiety and depression, no scan group
Group 4: Low anxiety and depression, scan group
Anxiety
There was no evidence for any overall reduction in anxiety at 1 year as measured by a visual analogue scale of ‘level of worry’ when analysed by whether the person received a scan or not. Similarly, there was no interaction between anxiety and depression status and whether a scan was offered or not on patient anxiety. Anxiety did not decrease at 1 year to any statistically significant degree in the high anxiety and depression group (HADS positive) compared with the low anxiety and depression group (HADS negative).
There are serious methodological limitations in this study design which may have contributed to these negative results. First, when considering the comparison of ‘scan’ vs. ‘no scan’ groups, 12 people (16%) in the ‘no scan group’ actually received a scan within the follow up year. If indeed scanning does reduce anxiety then this contamination of the ‘no scan’ group may have reduced the effect between the groups results resulting in a non significant difference in anxiety scores between the ‘scanned’ and the ‘no scan’ group. Second, there was an inadequate sample size at 1 year follow up in each of the 4 groups which may have contributed to a Type II statistical error (missing a difference when one may exist) when comparing scan vs. no scan by anxiety and depression status. Therefore, based on the results and study limitations it is inconclusive as to whether scanning reduces anxiety.
Outcome 3: System Services
Howard et al., considered services used and system costs a secondary outcome. These were determined by examining primary care case notes at 1 year for consultation rates, symptoms, further investigations, and contact with secondary and tertiary care.
System Services
The authors report that the use of neurologist and psychiatrist services was significantly higher for those persons not offered as scan, regardless of their anxiety and depression status (P<0.001 for neurologist, and P=0.033 for psychiatrist)
Outcome 4: System Costs
System Costs
There was evidence of statistically significantly lower system costs if persons with high levels of anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score >11) were provided with a scan (P=0.03 including inpatient costs, and 0.047 excluding inpatient costs).
Comparative Effectiveness of CT and MRI Scans
One study reported the detection rate for significant intracranial abnormalities using CT and MRI. In a cohort of 1876 persons with a non acute headache defined as any type of headache that had begun at least 4 weeks before enrolment Sempere et al. reported that the detection rate was 19/1432 (1.3%) using CT and 4/444 (0.9%) using MRI. Of 119 normal CT scans 2 (1.7%) had significant intracranial abnormality on MRI. The 2 cases were a small meningioma, and an acoustic neurinoma.
Summary
The evidence presented can be summarized as follows:
Pre-test Probability
Based on the results by Sempere et al., there is a low pre-test probability for intracranial abnormalities in persons with chronic headaches and a normal neurological exam (defined as headaches experiences for a minimum of 4 weeks). The Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Likelihood Ratios
Based on the systematic review by Detsky et al., there is a statistically significant positive and negative likelihood ratio for the following clinical variables: abnormal neurological exam, undefined headache, headache aggravated by exertion or valsalva, headache with vomiting. Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Based on the systematic review by Detsky et al. there is a statistically significant positive likelihood ratio but non statistically significant negative likelihood ratio for the following clinical variables: cluster headache and headache with aura. The Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Based on the systematic review by Detsky et al., there is a non significant positive and negative likelihood ratio for the following clinical variables: headache with focal symptoms, new onset headache, quick onset headache, worsening headache, male gender, headache with nausea, increased headache severity, migraine type headache. The Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Relief from Anxiety
Based on the RCT by Howard et al., it is inconclusive whether neuroimaging scans in persons with a chronic headache are anxiolytic. The Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is low.
System Services
Based on the RCT by Howard et al. scanning persons with chronic headache regardless of their anxiety and/or depression level reduces service use. The Grade quality of evidence is low.
System Costs
Based on the RCT by Howard et al., scanning persons with a score greater than 11 on the High Anxiety and Depression Scale reduces system costs. The Grade quality of evidence is moderate.
Comparative Effectiveness of CT and MRI Scans
There is sparse evidence to determine the relative effectiveness of CT compared with MRI scanning for the detection of intracranial abnormalities. The Grade quality of evidence supporting this is very low.
Economic Analysis
Ontario Perspective
Volumes for neuroimaging of the head i.e. CT and MRI scans, from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) data set were used to investigate trends in the province for Fiscal Years (FY) 2004-2009.
Assumptions were made in order to investigate neuroimaging of the head for the indication of headache. From the literature, 27% of all CT and 13% of all MRI scans for the head were assumed to include an indication of headache. From that same retrospective chart review and personal communication with the author 16% of CT scans and 4% of MRI scans for the head were for the sole indication of headache. From the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) wait times data, 73% of all CT and 93% of all MRI scans in the province, irrespective of indication were outpatient procedures.
The expenditure for each FY reflects the volume for that year and since volumes have increased in the past 6 FYs, the expenditure has also increased with a pay-out reaching 3.0M and 2.8M for CT and MRI services of the head respectively for the indication of headache and a pay-out reaching 1.8M and 0.9M for CT and MRI services of the head respectively for the indication of headache only in FY 08/09.
Cost per Abnormal Finding
The yield of abnormal finding for a CT and MRI scan of the head for the indication of headache only is 2% and 5% respectively. Based on these yield a high-level estimate of the cost per abnormal finding with neuroimaging of the head for headache only can be calculated for each FY. In FY 08/09 there were 37,434 CT and 16,197 MRI scans of the head for headache only. These volumes would generate a yield of abnormal finding of 749 and 910 with a CT scan and MRI scan respectively. The expenditure for FY 08/09 was 1.8M and 0.9M for CT and MRI services respectively. Therefore the cost per abnormal finding would be $2,409 for CT and $957 for MRI. These cost per abnormal finding estimates were limited because they did not factor in comparators or the consequences associated with an abnormal reading or FNs. The estimates only consider the cost of the neuroimaging procedure and the yield of abnormal finding with the respective procedure.
PMCID: PMC3377587  PMID: 23074404
2.  New daily persistent headache 
Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology  2012;15(Suppl 1):S62-S65.
New daily persistent headache (NDPH) is a chronic headache developing in a person who does not have a past history of headaches. The headache begins acutely and reaches its peak within 3 days. It is important to exclude secondary causes, particularly headaches due to alterations in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure and volume. A significant proportion of NDPH sufferers may have intractable headaches that are refractory to treatment. The condition is best viewed as a syndrome rather than a diagnosis. The headache can mimic chronic migraine and chronic tension-type headache, and it is also important to exclude secondary causes, particularly headaches due to alterations in CSF pressure and volume. A large proportion of NDPH sufferers have migrainous features to their headache and should be managed with treatments used for treating migraine. A small group of NDPH sufferers may have intractable headaches that are refractory to treatment.
doi:10.4103/0972-2327.100011
PMCID: PMC3444222  PMID: 23024565
Chronic daily headache; new daily persistent headache; intractable headache
3.  Strategies for diagnosing and managing medication-induced headache. 
Canadian Family Physician  1997;43:1249-1254.
PROBLEM ADDRESSED: Headache is a common clinical disorder. Nearly 50% of patients with headaches use prescription medications, and 90% regularly use nonprescription drugs. Medication-induced headaches (MIH) are chronic daily headaches caused by overuse of medicine. OBJECTIVES: To summarize the diagnostic criteria for MIH, to determine the investigations necessary to confirm the diagnosis and exclude other possible diagnoses, and to establish recommendations for managing MIH. MAIN FINDINGS: Diagnosis of MIH is based on patient's history and the clinical characteristics of the headache. Treatment includes patient education and support, withdrawal of offending medications, relief of withdrawal symptoms, and specific treatment of residual headache. When migraine and other causes of headache are adequately addressed, patients will not seek additional pain relief. CONCLUSION: Medication-induced headache is preventable. The key to prevention is appropriate drug therapy to relieve the primary headache. All patients with MIH can be treated and most cured.
PMCID: PMC2255116  PMID: 9241463
4.  Tension-type Headache With Medication Overuse: Pathophysiology and Clinical Implications 
Current pain and headache reports  2009;13(6):463-469.
Tension-type headache (TTH) is the most prevalent primary headache disorder. An important factor in the long-term prognosis of TTH is the overuse of acute medications used to treat headache. There are many reasons why patients with TTH overuse acute medications, including biobehavioral influences, dependency, and a lack of patient education. Chronic daily headache occurs in 4.1% of the general population, and chronic tension-type headache and medication overuse headache (MOH) occur in approximately 2.2% and 1.5%, respectively. A proper diagnosis is essential for the treatment of these patients. Treatment should include pathological considerations concerning TTH and MOH, which include peripheral and central mechanisms. Because TTH with MOH carries the worst prognosis, more clinical studies focusing on the complex interaction and treatments of TTH and MOH are needed.
PMCID: PMC4030319  PMID: 19889288
5.  From drug-induced headache to medication overuse headache. A short epidemiological review, with a focus on Latin American countries 
Medication overuse headache (MOH) is a daily or almost-daily type of headache that results from the chronicization, usually migraine or tension-type headache, as a consequence of the progressive increase of intake of symptomatic drugs. MOH is now the third most frequent type of headache and affects a percentage of 1–1.4% of the general population. The currently available data on the impact of chronic headache associated with analgesic overuse in specialist headache centres confirm, beyond doubt, the existence of a serious health problem. Limited amount of data exists on the burden and impact of MOH in Latin American Countries. In this review, we summarise the reliable information from the literature on the epidemiological impact of MOH.
doi:10.1007/s10194-009-0101-y
PMCID: PMC3451648  PMID: 19238511
Drug-induced headache; Medication overuse headache; Epidemiological impact; Prevalence; Latin American countries
6.  Chronic headaches: from research to clinical practice 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2005;6(4):175-178.
Chronic daily headache (CDH) is a heterogeneous group of headaches that includes primary and secondary varieties. Primary CDH is a frequent entity that probably affects 4–5% of the population. It can be subdivided into headaches of short duration (<4 h/attack) like chronic cluster headache, and disorders of long duration (>4 h/attack). Primary CDH of long duration includes transformed migraine, chronic tension–type headache, and new daily persistent headache and hemicrania continua. Analgesics, ergots and triptan overuse are frequent in all types of CDH. We revise recent insights into the epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical characteristics and prognosis of CDH.
doi:10.1007/s10194-005-0177-y
PMCID: PMC3452019  PMID: 16362656
Chronic migraine; Chronic tension–type headache; New persistent daily headache; Physiopathology; Epidemiology
7.  The differential diagnosis of chronic daily headaches: an algorithm-based approach 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2007;8(5):263-272.
Chronic daily headaches (CDHs) refers to primary headaches that happen on at least 15 days per month, for 4 or more hours per day, for at least three consecutive months. The differential diagnosis of CDHs is challenging and should proceed in an orderly fashion. The approach begins with a search for “red flags” that suggest the possibility of a secondary headache. If secondary headaches that mimic CDHs are excluded, either on clinical grounds or through investigation, the next step is to classify the headaches based on the duration of attacks. If the attacks last less than 4 hours per day, a trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (TAC) is likely. TACs include episodic and chronic cluster headache, episodic and chronic paroxysmal hemicrania, SUNCT, and hypnic headache. If the duration is ≥4 h, a CDH is likely and the differential diagnosis encompasses chronic migraine, chronic tension-type headache, new daily persistent headache and hemicrania continua. The clinical approach to diagnosing CDH is the scope of this review.
doi:10.1007/s10194-007-0418-3
PMCID: PMC2793374  PMID: 17955166
Chronic daily headache; Differential diagnosis; Strategy
8.  The differential diagnosis of chronic daily headaches: an algorithm-based approach 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2007;8(5):263-272.
Chronic daily headaches (CDHs) refers to primary headaches that happen on at least 15 days per month, for 4 or more hours per day, for at least three consecutive months. The differential diagnosis of CDHs is challenging and should proceed in an orderly fashion. The approach begins with a search for “red flags” that suggest the possibility of a secondary headache. If secondary headaches that mimic CDHs are excluded, either on clinical grounds or through investigation, the next step is to classify the headaches based on the duration of attacks. If the attacks last less than 4 hours per day, a trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia (TAC) is likely. TACs include episodic and chronic cluster headache, episodic and chronic paroxysmal hemicrania, SUNCT, and hypnic headache. If the duration is ≥4 h, a CDH is likely and the differential diagnosis encompasses chronic migraine, chronic tension-type headache, new daily persistent headache and hemicrania continua. The clinical approach to diagnosing CDH is the scope of this review.
doi:10.1007/s10194-007-0418-3
PMCID: PMC2793374  PMID: 17955166
Chronic daily headache; Differential diagnosis; Strategy
9.  Chronic Daily Headache, Medication Overuse, and Obesity in Children and Adolescents 
Journal of child neurology  2011;27(5):577-580.
Obesity and headaches are common in children and adults. Adult studies suggest obesity is a risk factor for chronic daily headache and increased migraine frequency and severity. Pediatric studies have suggested a relationship between obesity, increasing headache frequency, and disability. The authors retrospectively evaluated 925 children from their Pediatric Headache Clinic between July 2004 and July 2008, assessing headache frequency, medication overuse, and body mass index compared to population-based norms. The pediatric headache group as a whole had a greater percentage of overweight than the general population. This was also true with the subgroup of patients with chronic tension-type headache, although the numbers were small. Data did not show increased incidence of overweight in children with medication overuse or chronic migraine. This contrasts with adult data, which have suggested a closer link between chronic migraine and obesity and have not supported a link with chronic tension-type headache.
doi:10.1177/0883073811420869
PMCID: PMC3777610  PMID: 21954426
headache; migraine; obesity; medication overuse; tension-type
10.  Review of botulinum toxin type A for the prophylactic treatment of chronic daily headache 
Botulinum toxin A is increasingly used in the treatment of idiopathic and symptomatic headache disorders. However, only few controlled trials are available and many trials can hardly be compared to each other because of different endpoints and different trial designs. In particular chronic daily headache, which is defined as an idiopathic headache occurring on more than 15 days per month for at least 3 months and a daily duration of at least 4 hours, is considered as a headache disorder with possible efficacy of botulinum toxin A. For the prophylactic treatment of chronic tension-type headache and chronic migraine, no sufficient positive evidence for a successful treatment can be obtained from randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trials to date. For the treatment of chronic daily headache including medication overuse headache, there is some positive evidence for efficacy in a subgroup of patients. To date, the majority of double-blind and placebo-controlled studies do not suggest that botulinum toxin A is efficacious in the treatment of chronic idiopathic headache disorders. However, it is possible that some subgroups of patients with chronic daily headache will benefit from a long-term treatment with botulinum toxin A.
PMCID: PMC2656318  PMID: 19300611
botulinum toxin A; chronic daily headache; chronic tension-type headache; chronic migraine
11.  Obesity and Headache: Part I – A Systematic Review of the Epidemiology of Obesity and Headache 
Headache  2014;54(2):219-234.
Individually, both obesity and headache are conditions associated with a substantial personal and societal impact. Recent data support that obesity is comorbid with headache in general and migraine specifically, as well as with certain secondary headache conditions such as idiopathic intracranial hypertension. In the current manuscript, we first briefly review the epidemiology of obesity and common primary and secondary headache disorders individually. This is followed by a systematic review of the general population data evaluating the association between obesity and headache in general, and then obesity and migraine and tension-type headache disorders. Finally, we briefly discuss the data on the association between obesity and a common secondary headache disorder that is associated with obesity, idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Taken together, these data suggest that it is important for clinicians and patients to be aware of the headache/migraine-obesity association, given that it is potentially modifiable. Hypotheses for mechanisms of the obesity-migraine association and treatment considerations for overweight and obese headache sufferers are discussed in the companion manuscript, as part II of this topic.
doi:10.1111/head.12296
PMCID: PMC3971380  PMID: 24512574
headache; migraine; obesity; body mass index
12.  Primary headaches in patients with generalized anxiety disorder 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2011;12-12(3):331-338.
Although anxiety disorders and headaches are comorbid conditions, there have been no studies evaluating the prevalence of primary headaches in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The aim of this study was to analyze the lifetime prevalence of primary headaches in individuals with and without GAD. A total of 60 individuals were evaluated: 30 GAD patients and 30 controls without mental disorders. Psychiatric assessments and primary headache diagnoses were made using structured interviews. Among the GAD patients, the most common diagnosis was migraine, which was significantly more prevalent among the GAD patients than among the controls, as were episodic migraine, chronic daily headache and aura. Tension-type headache was equally common in both groups. Primary headaches in general were significantly more common and more severe in GAD patients than in controls. In anxiety disorder patients, particularly those with GAD, accurate diagnosis of primary headache can improve patient management and clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1007/s10194-010-0290-4
PMCID: PMC3094648  PMID: 21298316
Migraine; Anxiety disorders; Generalized anxiety disorder; Comorbidity
13.  Primary headaches in patients with generalized anxiety disorder 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2011;12(3):331-338.
Although anxiety disorders and headaches are comorbid conditions, there have been no studies evaluating the prevalence of primary headaches in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The aim of this study was to analyze the lifetime prevalence of primary headaches in individuals with and without GAD. A total of 60 individuals were evaluated: 30 GAD patients and 30 controls without mental disorders. Psychiatric assessments and primary headache diagnoses were made using structured interviews. Among the GAD patients, the most common diagnosis was migraine, which was significantly more prevalent among the GAD patients than among the controls, as were episodic migraine, chronic daily headache and aura. Tension-type headache was equally common in both groups. Primary headaches in general were significantly more common and more severe in GAD patients than in controls. In anxiety disorder patients, particularly those with GAD, accurate diagnosis of primary headache can improve patient management and clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1007/s10194-010-0290-4
PMCID: PMC3094648  PMID: 21298316
Migraine; Anxiety disorders; Generalized anxiety disorder; Comorbidity
14.  Classification and clinical features of headache patients: an outpatient clinic study from China 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2011;12(5):561-567.
This study aimed to analyze and classify the clinical features of headache in neurological outpatients. A cross-sectional study was conducted consecutively from March to May 2010 for headache among general neurological outpatients attending the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University. Personal interviews were carried out and a questionnaire was used to collect medical records. Diagnosis of headache was according to the International classification of headache disorders, 2nd edition (ICHD-II). Headache patients accounted for 19.5% of the general neurology clinic outpatients. A total of 843 (50.1%) patients were defined as having primary headache, 454 (27%) secondary headache, and 386 (23%) headache not otherwise specified (headache NOS). For primary headache, 401 (23.8%) had migraine, 399 (23.7%) tension-type headache (TTH), 8 (0.5%) cluster headache and 35 (2.1%) other headache types. Overall, migraine patients suffered (1) more severe headache intensity, (2) longer than 6 years of headache history and (3) more common analgesic medications use than TTH ones (p < 0.001).TTH patients had more frequent episodes of headaches than migraine patients, and typically headache frequency exceeded 15 days/month (p < 0.001); 22.8% of primary headache patients were defined as chronic daily headache. Almost 20% of outpatient visits to the general neurology department were of headache patients, predominantly primary headache of migraine and TTH. In outpatient headaches, more attention should be given to headache intensity and duration of headache history for migraine patients, while more attention to headache frequency should be given for the TTH ones.
doi:10.1007/s10194-011-0360-2
PMCID: PMC3173628  PMID: 21744226
Outpatient; Headache; Cross-sectional study; Clinical feature; Migraine
15.  Classification and clinical features of headache patients: an outpatient clinic study from China 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2011;12(5):561-567.
This study aimed to analyze and classify the clinical features of headache in neurological outpatients. A cross-sectional study was conducted consecutively from March to May 2010 for headache among general neurological outpatients attending the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University. Personal interviews were carried out and a questionnaire was used to collect medical records. Diagnosis of headache was according to the International classification of headache disorders, 2nd edition (ICHD-II). Headache patients accounted for 19.5% of the general neurology clinic outpatients. A total of 843 (50.1%) patients were defined as having primary headache, 454 (27%) secondary headache, and 386 (23%) headache not otherwise specified (headache NOS). For primary headache, 401 (23.8%) had migraine, 399 (23.7%) tension-type headache (TTH), 8 (0.5%) cluster headache and 35 (2.1%) other headache types. Overall, migraine patients suffered (1) more severe headache intensity, (2) longer than 6 years of headache history and (3) more common analgesic medications use than TTH ones (p < 0.001).TTH patients had more frequent episodes of headaches than migraine patients, and typically headache frequency exceeded 15 days/month (p < 0.001); 22.8% of primary headache patients were defined as chronic daily headache. Almost 20% of outpatient visits to the general neurology department were of headache patients, predominantly primary headache of migraine and TTH. In outpatient headaches, more attention should be given to headache intensity and duration of headache history for migraine patients, while more attention to headache frequency should be given for the TTH ones.
doi:10.1007/s10194-011-0360-2
PMCID: PMC3173628  PMID: 21744226
Outpatient; Headache; Cross-sectional study; Clinical feature; Migraine
16.  Psychopathology and quality of life burden in chronic daily headache: influence of migraine symptoms 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2010;11(3):247-253.
The aim of this study is to compare the psychopathology and the quality of life of chronic daily headache patients between those with migraine headache and those with tension-type headache. We enrolled 106 adults with chronic daily headache (CDH) who consulted for the first time in specialised centres. The patients were classified according to the IHS 2004 criteria and the propositions of the Headache Classification Committee (2006) with a computed algorithm: 8 had chronic migraine (without medication overuse), 18 had chronic tension-type headache (without medication overuse), 80 had medication overuse headache and among them, 43 fulfilled the criteria for the sub-group of migraine (m) MOH, and 37 the subgroup for tension-type (tt) MOH. We tested five variables: MADRS global score, HAMA psychic and somatic sub-scales, SF-36 psychic, and somatic summary components. We compared patients with migraine symptoms (CM and mMOH) to those with tension-type symptoms (CTTH and ttMOH) and neutralised pain intensity with an ANCOVA which is a priori higher in the migraine group. We failed to find any difference between migraine and tension-type groups in the MADRS global score, the HAMA psychological sub-score and the SF36 physical component summary. The HAMA somatic anxiety subscale was higher in the migraine group than in the tension-type group (F(1,103) = 10.10, p = 0.001). The SF36 mental component summary was significantly worse in the migraine as compared with the tension-type subgroup (F(1,103) = 5.758, p = 0.018). In the four CDH subgroups, all the SF36 dimension scores except one (Physical Functioning) showed a more than 20 point difference from those seen in the adjusted historical controls. Furthermore, two sub-scores were significantly more affected in the migraine group as compared to the tension-type group, the physical health bodily pain (F(1,103) = 4.51, p = 0.036) and the mental health (F(1,103) = 8.17, p = 0.005). Considering that the statistic procedure neutralises the pain intensity factor, our data suggest a particular vulnerability to somatic symptoms and a special predisposition to develop negative pain affect in migraine patients in comparison to tension-type patients.
doi:10.1007/s10194-010-0208-1
PMCID: PMC3451907  PMID: 20383733
Psychopathology; Quality of life; Chronic daily headache; Migraine symptoms; Tension type headache symptoms
17.  Management of secondary chronic headache in the general population: the Akershus study of chronic headache 
Background
The prevalence of secondary chronic headache in our population is 0.5%. Data is sparse on these types of headache and information about utilisation of health care and medication is missing. Our aim was to evaluate utility of health service services and medication use in secondary chronic headache in the general population.
Methods
An age and gender stratified cross-sectional epidemiological survey included 30,000 persons 30–44 years old. Diagnoses were interview-based. The International Classification of Headache Disorders 2nd ed. was applied along with supplementary definitions for chronic rhinosinusitis and cervicogenic headache. Secondary chronic headache exclusively due to medication overuse was excluded.
Results
One hundred and thirteen participants had secondary chronic headache. Thirty % had never consulted a physician, 70% had consulted their GP, 35% had consulted a neurologist and 5% had been hospitalised due to their secondary chronic headache. Co-occurrence of migraine or medication overuse increased the physician contact. Acute headache medication was taken by 84% and 11% used prophylactic medication. Complementary and alternative medicine was used by 73% with the higher frequency among those with than without physician contact.
Conclusion
The pattern of health care utilisation indicates that there is room for improving management of secondary chronic headache.
doi:10.1186/1129-2377-14-5
PMCID: PMC3606965  PMID: 23565808
Secondary chronic headache; Chronic migraine; Medication-overuse headache; Health care utilisation; General population
18.  The role of neuroimaging in the diagnosis of headache disorders 
Headache is a common clinical feature in patients in the emergency room and in general neurology clinics. For physicians not experienced in headache disorders it might be difficult sometimes to decide in which patients neuroimaging is necessary to diagnose an underlying brain pathology and in which patients cerebral imaging is unnecessary. Most patients presenting to the primary-care physician with a nonacute headache and no further neurological signs or symptoms will not be suffering from an underlying serious condition. This review focuses on the main primary headache diseases, including migraine, tension-type headache and cluster headache, as well as frequent secondary headache entities with common clinical presentation and appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms to help guide the decision on the utilization of neuroimaging in the diagnostic workup.
doi:10.1177/1756285613489765
PMCID: PMC3825114  PMID: 24228072
cluster headache; diagnosis; headache; migraine; neuroimaging; tension-type headache
19.  Other primary headaches 
Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology  2012;15(Suppl 1):S66-S71.
The ‘Other Primary Headaches’ include eight recognised benign headache disorders. Primary stabbing headache is a generally benign disorder which often co-exists with other primary headache disorders such as migraine and cluster headache. Primary cough headache is headache precipitated by valsalva; secondary cough has been reported particularly in association with posterior fossa pathology. Primary exertional headache can occur with sudden or gradual onset during, or immediately after, exercise. Similarly headache associated with sexual activity can occur with gradual evolution or sudden onset. Secondary headache is more likely with both exertional and sexual headache of sudden onset. Sudden onset headache, with maximum intensity reached within a minute, is termed thunderclap headache. A benign form of thunderclap headache exists. However, isolated primary and secondary thunderclap headache cannot be clinically differentiated. Therefore all headache of thunderclap onset should be investigated. The primary forms of the aforementioned paroxysmal headaches appear to be Indomethacin sensitive disorders. Hypnic headache is a rare disorder which is termed ‘alarm clock headache’, exclusively waking patients from sleep. The disorder can be Indomethacin responsive, but can also respond to Lithium and caffeine. New daily persistent headache is a rare and often intractable headache which starts one day and persists daily thereafter for at least 3 months. The clinical syndrome more often has migrainous features or is otherwise has a chronic tension-type headache phenotype. Management is that of the clinical syndrome. Hemicrania continua straddles the disorders of migraine and the trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias and is not dealt with in this review.
doi:10.4103/0972-2327.100012
PMCID: PMC3444217  PMID: 23024566
Cough headache; exertional headache; hypnic headache; primary headache disorders; stabbing headache
20.  Chronic daily headache in a paediatric headache centre 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2005;6(4):274-276.
The prevalence and the clinical features of chronic daily headache (CDH) were studied in 968 children and adolescents observed during a period of one year in the Headache Centre of the Anna Meyer Paediatric Hospital of Florence. Nine hundred and fortyfour patients (97.52%) had primary headache according to ICHD-II, 24 subjects had secondary headache and 56 patients had CDH (5.93% of primary headaches). The mean age of subjects with CDH was higher than general (13.5 vs. 11.5 years), with a female preponderance (69.6% vs. 30.4%). According to the ICHD-II, headaches were classified as chronic migraine in 10 patients (1.5.2 ICHD-II), chronic tension-type headache in 36 (2.3 ICHD-II), new daily persistent headache in 8 (4.8 ICHD-II) and 2 patients reported mixed pattern (chronic migraine+chronic tension type headache). Medication overuse was not implicated in our patients.
doi:10.1007/s10194-005-0209-7
PMCID: PMC3452050  PMID: 16362685
Chronic daily headache; Children; Juvenile headache; Migraine; Tension type headache
21.  Diagnosis and management of the primary headache disorders in the emergency department setting 
Headache continues to be a frequent cause of emergency department (ED) use, accounting for 2% of all visits. The majority of these headaches prove to be benign but painful exacerbations of chronic headache disorders, such as migraine, tension-type, and cluster. The goal of ED management is to provide rapid and quick relief of benign headache, without causing undue side effects, as well as recognizing headaches with malignant course. Though these headaches have distinct epidemiologies and clinical phenotypes, there is overlapping response to therapy: non-steroidals, triptans, dihydroergotamine, and the anti-emetic dopamine-antagonists may play a therapeutic role for each of these acute headaches. Because these headaches often recur over the days and months following ED discharge, the responsibility of the emergency physician includes identifying as yet unmet treatment needs and ensuring successful transition of care of these patients to an outpatient healthcare provider. Herein, we review the diagnostic criteria and management strategies for the primary headache disorders.
doi:10.1016/j.emc.2008.09.005
PMCID: PMC2676687  PMID: 19218020
headache; migraine; emergency department
22.  Overview of diagnosis and management of paediatric headache. Part I: diagnosis 
Headache is the most common somatic complaint in children and adolescents. The evaluation should include detailed history of children and adolescents completed by detailed general and neurological examinations. Moreover, the possible role of psychological factors, life events and excessively stressful lifestyle in influencing recurrent headache need to be checked. The choice of laboratory tests rests on the differential diagnosis suggested by the history, the character and temporal pattern of the headache, and the physical and neurological examinations. Subjects who have any signs or symptoms of focal/progressive neurological disturbances should be investigated by neuroimaging techniques. The electroencephalogram and other neurophysiological examinations are of limited value in the routine evaluation of headaches. In a primary headache disorder, headache itself is the illness and headache is not attributed to any other disorder (e.g. migraine, tension-type headache, cluster headache and other trigeminal autonomic cephalgias). In secondary headache disorders, headache is the symptom of identifiable structural, metabolic or other abnormality. Red flags include the first or worst headache ever in the life, recent headache onset, increasing severity or frequency, occipital location, awakening from sleep because of headache, headache occurring exclusively in the morning associated with severe vomiting and headache associated with straining. Thus, the differential diagnosis between primary and secondary headaches rests mainly on clinical criteria. A thorough evaluation of headache in children and adolescents is necessary to make the correct diagnosis and initiate treatment, bearing in mind that children with headache are more likely to experience psychosocial adversity and to grow up with an excess of both headache and other physical and psychiatric symptoms and this creates an important healthcare problem for their future life.
doi:10.1007/s10194-011-0297-5
PMCID: PMC3056001  PMID: 21359874
Headache; Childhood; Paediatric headaches; Diagnosis; Epidemiology; Defining features
23.  Overview of diagnosis and management of paediatric headache. Part I: diagnosis 
Headache is the most common somatic complaint in children and adolescents. The evaluation should include detailed history of children and adolescents completed by detailed general and neurological examinations. Moreover, the possible role of psychological factors, life events and excessively stressful lifestyle in influencing recurrent headache need to be checked. The choice of laboratory tests rests on the differential diagnosis suggested by the history, the character and temporal pattern of the headache, and the physical and neurological examinations. Subjects who have any signs or symptoms of focal/progressive neurological disturbances should be investigated by neuroimaging techniques. The electroencephalogram and other neurophysiological examinations are of limited value in the routine evaluation of headaches. In a primary headache disorder, headache itself is the illness and headache is not attributed to any other disorder (e.g. migraine, tension-type headache, cluster headache and other trigeminal autonomic cephalgias). In secondary headache disorders, headache is the symptom of identifiable structural, metabolic or other abnormality. Red flags include the first or worst headache ever in the life, recent headache onset, increasing severity or frequency, occipital location, awakening from sleep because of headache, headache occurring exclusively in the morning associated with severe vomiting and headache associated with straining. Thus, the differential diagnosis between primary and secondary headaches rests mainly on clinical criteria. A thorough evaluation of headache in children and adolescents is necessary to make the correct diagnosis and initiate treatment, bearing in mind that children with headache are more likely to experience psychosocial adversity and to grow up with an excess of both headache and other physical and psychiatric symptoms and this creates an important healthcare problem for their future life.
doi:10.1007/s10194-011-0297-5
PMCID: PMC3056001  PMID: 21359874
Headache; Childhood; Paediatric headaches; Diagnosis; Epidemiology; Defining features
24.  Validation of criterion-based patient assignment and treatment effectiveness of a multidisciplinary modularized managed care program for headache 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2012;13(5):379-387.
This prospective observational study evaluates the validity of an algorithm for assigning patients to a multidisciplinary modularized managed care headache treatment program. N = 545 chronic headache sufferers [migraine (53.8 %), migraine + tension type (30.1 %), tension type (8.3 %) or medication overuse headache (6.2 %), other primary headaches (1.5 %)] were assigned to one of four treatment modules differing with regard to the number and types of interventions entailed (e.g., medication, psychological intervention, physical therapy, etc.). A rather simple assignment algorithm based on headache frequency, medication use and psychiatric comorbidity was used. Patients in the different modules were compared with regard to the experienced burden of disease. 1-year follow-up outcome data are reported (N = 160). Headache frequency and analgesic consumption differed significantly among patients in the modules. Headache-related disability was highest in patients with high headache frequency with/without medication overuse or psychiatric comorbidity (modules 2/3) compared to patients with low headache frequency and medication (module 0). Physical functioning was lowest in patients with chronic headache regardless of additional problems (modules 1/2/3). Psychological functioning was lowest in patients with severe chronicity with/without additional problems (module 2/3) compared to headache suffers with no/moderate chronicity (module 0/1). Anxiety or depression was highest in patients with severe chronicity. In 1-year follow-up, headache frequency (minus 45.3 %), consumption of attack-aborting drugs (minus 71.4 %) and headache-related disability decreased (minus 35.9 %). Our results demonstrate the clinical effectiveness and the criterion validity of the treatment assignment algorithm based on headache frequency, medication use and psychiatric comorbidity.
doi:10.1007/s10194-012-0453-6
PMCID: PMC3381067  PMID: 22581187
Integrated care; Multidisciplinary modularized treatment program; Outcome study; Headache-related disability; Headache-related quality of life; Chronic headache
25.  Prevalence of headache in Europe: a review for the Eurolight project 
The Journal of Headache and Pain  2010;11(4):289-299.
The main aim of the present study was to do an update on studies on headache epidemiology as a preparation for the multinational European study on the prevalence and burden of headache and investigate the impact of different methodological issues on the results. The study was based on a previous study, and a systematic literature search was performed to identify the newest studies. More than 50% of adults indicate that they suffer from headache in general during the last year or less, but when asked specifically about tension-type headache, the prevalence was 60%. Migraine occurs in 15%, chronic headache in about 4% and possible medication overuse headache in 1–2%. Cluster headache has a lifetime prevalence of 0.2–0.3%. Most headaches are more prevalent in women, and somewhat less prevalent in children and youth. Some studies indicate that the headache prevalence is increasing during the last decades in Europe. As to methodological issues, lifetime prevalences are in general higher than 1-year prevalences, but the exact time frame of headache (1 year, 6 or 3 months, or no time frame stated) seems to be of less importance. Studies using personal interviews seem to give somewhat higher prevalences than those using questionnaires.
doi:10.1007/s10194-010-0217-0
PMCID: PMC2917556  PMID: 20473702
Epidemiology; Prevalence; Headache; Migraine; Medication overuse

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