The prevalence of primary headaches — those with no clear cause — is high among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study suggests.
Clinical screening of headache among MS patients could help tailor individualized treatments and ease the impact of the disease for these patients.
The study, “The epidemiology of primary headaches in patients with multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Brain and Behavior.
Primary headaches refer to headaches with a lack of clear underlying structural pathology, trauma, or systemic disease. These include both migraine and tension-type headaches.
Headache is a common neurological condition reported among people with MS. However, the prevalence of primary headaches among MS patients differs substantially across studies — ranging from 35.5% to 70%.
To shed light on this matter, researchers at The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, in China, estimated the prevalence of primary headache among patients with MS through a systematic review and meta-analysis — examination of data from a number of independent studies in order to determine overall trends.
Through a systematic literature search, the team identified 62 studies that met the defined inclusion criteria. From these, 16 full-text research articles were included in the final qualitative and quantitative analysis.
These studies covered a total of 3,560 MS patients (72% female, mean age ranging from 30.0 to 50.7 years across studies), from seven case‐control studies and nine cross‐sectional studies mostly conducted in Europe and North America.
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