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Australian-first study aims to capture migraine burden in our community

Australian-first study aims to capture migraine burden in our community 

A pilot study aims to fill a big gap in migraine knowledge by determining the most efficient way to capture its prevalence, burden, and treatment gaps in the Australian community. The AHEAD (Australian Headache Epidemiology Data) pilot study, supported by grants from Brain Foundation, Lundbeck, and Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation, will investigate migraine and medication overuse headache as a precursor to the first Australia-wide study of migraine prevalence and management.

Those living with migraine know it is more than just a headache. It seriously impacts people’s quality of life and productivity. Yet until now, comprehensive migraine data has not been collected in Australia, despite the serious effect it has on so many lives. Based on international studies, an estimated 4.9 million Australians live with migraine.

Local data is urgently needed to accurately characterise the extent of this major public health issue in Australia.

The Alfred neurologist and Monash University research fellow Dr Emma Foster will lead the study with Professor Alessandro Zagami from Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital and the University of New South Wales.

“There are no robust, population-based studies that capture prevalence and burden of migraine in Australia,” Dr Foster says. “A dedicated study is needed to capture data across the whole country.”

The research team has designed a questionnaire that will be mailed to 20,000 randomly selected households in Victoria and New South Wales. To ensure statistical validity, only those invited can be included at this stage. The questionnaire asks participants whether they experience migraine, and if yes, how much it impacts them, and what treatments they use. Their responses will inform the design of a future, nationwide mailout study. The researchers would like to encourage all those who receive a questionnaire to participate, including those living without migraine. The questionnaire takes between 5-15 minutes to complete.

“This pilot study will provide crucial information to guide the design of a future, nationwide study, planned for 2024, that will comprehensively capture migraine prevalence, burden, and treatment gaps,” Dr Foster said. “These critical data will direct future healthcare priorities, improve access to treatments, and bring impactful change to individuals, their families, and our communities.”
Results are expected later this year.

More information can be found here

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