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Analysis and Demographics of the Internet Migraineur
Posted July 2000

Objective: To provide a demographic description of migraine sufferers who utilize the Internet by examining sex, age of onset, history of injuries and location
of pain.

Background: Although migraine is a commonly treated condition, not many studies have been conducted to describe the migraineur sub-populations, particularly for Internet users. This study complements the work done by Lipton and Stewart.

Design and Methods: 618 individuals answered the "Headache Test", a self-administered questionnaire on The San Francisco Clinical Research Center website. Questions from this instrument are aimed at gathering information on demographics, symptoms, co-morbid conditions and burdens of disease. The respondents were given diagnoses of migraine (common or classic), other headache, or a non-headache related condition. Frequency tables were created from the demographic data.

Results: 77% were female and 23% were male. The most common age of onset was recorded between the ages of 20 and 30. Responses to the headache frequency query varied greatly, ranging from once a month (54 repondents) to multiple times in a day (5 respondents). 49% of the headache sufferers reported lateralized loci for their pain. 18% reported a "hatband" type of headache pain. Majority of both, migraine (90%) and non-migraine (96%) groups observed that the loci of pain did not change location. In contrast, 8% of individuals diagnosed with migraine and 2% of those diagnosed to not have migraine indicated that the locus of the headache pain moved around. Only 35 individuals attributed their migraine to a prior injury.

Conclusions: Migraines were found to be more common in women, involving unilateral pain without a moving locus. Moreover, the headache frequency was found to vary greatly among individuals. The population is self-selected, given that people who suffer from a headache would have answered this questionnaire. It will be possible to project the findings of the Internet sub-population to the general population.