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One-Year Follow-Up of Headache in an
Adult General Population
Boardman HF, Thomas E, et al.
Posted: May 2005  
Headache 2005;45:337-345

Objective:   To investigate variation in headache occurrence and characteristics over 1 year.

Methods:   Postal survey to a random general population sample of 5000 adults aged 18 years plus, with follow-up survey to all baseline responders at 1 year and a subsample of 500 being surveyed at 2-monthly intervals between the baseline and 1-year surveys.

Results:   A total of 1589 responded to the 1-year follow-up and 282 of the subsample responded to all five surveys at 3-mothly intervals. Among 1-year respondents with recent headache at baseline (defined as occurring during the previous 3 months), nearly all also reported headache during the follow-up year. One-third of respondents without recent headache at baseline reported a new episode of headache during the follow-up in at least one headache characteristic. These findings were replicated in the sample completing the 3-monthly surveys. Although most of this subgroup reported their headache occurrence status was unchanged during each 3-month period, only a few (3%) respondents with headache in each period reported no variation at all in headache characteristics during the study.

Conclusions:   While prevalence of recent headache was stable over time for individuals, there was considerable variation in headache characteristics.