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Epidemiology and Symptomatology of Migraine Among School Children: Denizli Urban Area in Turkey


  • Mehmet Zencir MD,

  • Hacer Ergin MD,

  • Türker Şahiner MD,

  • İlknur Kılıç MD,

  • Esma Alkış MD,

  • Lale Özdel MD,

  • Dolunay Gürses MD,

  • Ahmet Ergin MD, PhD, MPH

  • From the Department of Public Health, Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey (Drs. Zencir, Alkış, and Özdel); Department of Pediatrics, Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey (Drs. H. Ergin, Kılıç, and Gürses); Department of Neurology, Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey (Dr. Şahiner); and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA (Dr. A. Ergin).

Address all correspondence to Mehmet Zencir, Pamukkale Universitesi, Tıp Fakültesi, Halk Sağlığı AD, Kınıklı, Denizli, Turkey.


Objective.—This study was aimed at finding the prevalence, associated factors, and symptomatology of migraine among 5 to 8 grades of secondary and 9 to 11 grades of high school children (age range between 11 and 18 years old) in the Denizli urban area in the western part of Turkey.

Background.—Data from the developed countries indicate that migraine is the most common cause of recurrent headaches in children. Also, childhood migraine is sufficiently severe to prevent the half of the suffering children from carrying on their usual daily activities.

Methods.—A cross-sectional school-based study was conducted between May 2000 and June 2000. There were 2,490 participants selected by a multistage stratified clustered sampling procedure. A validated self-administered questionnaire designed according to the International Headache Society criteria was given to the school children of age between 11 and 18 years.

Results.—Overall migraine prevalence was 8.8%; it was 6.7% in boys and 11.0% in girls (OR: 1.7; 95% CI: 1.3 to 2.3). Among girls, the highest prevalence (17.7%) occurred at 15 years of age, but among boys, the highest prevalence (11.9%) occurred at 16 years of age. Of children with migraine, 56.5% had a positive family history, and only 29.1% visited a doctor for headache.

Conclusion.—Migraine is a common health problem among school children in Denizli urban area and it often goes underdiagnosed.