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Clinical Review and Epidemiology of Headache Disorders in US Service Members: With Emphasis on Post-traumatic Headache

Authors

  • Edward T. Neely MD,

    1. From the Department of Neurology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA (E. T. Neely); Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD, USA (L.A. Midgette and A.I. Scher).
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  • Lynn A. Midgette MPH,

    1. From the Department of Neurology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA (E. T. Neely); Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD, USA (L.A. Midgette and A.I. Scher).
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  • Ann I. Scher PhD

    1. From the Department of Neurology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA (E. T. Neely); Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD, USA (L.A. Midgette and A.I. Scher).
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  • The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the offical policy or position of the Department of the Army, or the US Government.

E.T. Neely, Neurology Clinic/Ward 61, Walter Reed AMC, 6900 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20307, USA.

Abstract

Migraine or headache is a common problem in the active duty population, in the recently deployed service members, and is a cardinal symptom of traumatic brain injury. While there is increasing appreciation of the clinical burden of post-traumatic headache (PTHA) in the military traumatic brain injury population, there remain significant research gaps related to the epidemiology of PTHA, including lack of understanding of natural history, whether there are predisposing factors that predict the development or prognosis of headache post trauma and, most basically, the features that distinguish PTHA from other forms of chronic headache. Although diagnostic criteria for PTHA are included in the International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edition, revised, these criteria are somewhat arbitrary and were not empirically defined. This lack of precision about the PTHA phenotype limits the rigor of observational studies of PTH but does not appear to significantly hamper treatment, provided the treatment involves a multi-modality approach.

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