Those living with migraine know it's more than just a headache, but just how prevalent is the problem? A new research team is determined to find out.
The team is looking to compile more specific data about the prevalence of migraine in Australia, the burden it places on sufferers, and treatment gaps in the Australian community.
The AHEAD (Australian Headache Epidemiology Data) pilot study has been launched as a precursor to the first Australia-wide study of migraine prevalence and management.
Based on international studies, an estimated 4.9 million Australians live with migraine. But neurologist, Monash University researcher and study co-lead Emma Foster said there were currently no "robust, population-based studies" focusing on migraine in Australia.
"A dedicated study is needed to capture data across the whole country," Dr Foster said.
The research team has designed a questionnaire which will be mailed to 20,000 randomly selected households in Victoria and New South Wales.
The questionnaire will ask participants whether they experience migraine. Those who reply yes will be asked how much it impacts them and what treatments they use.
Responses will be incorporated into the design of a future, nationwide mailout study.
All those who receive the questionnaire are encouraged to complete it, including those who do not suffer from migraine. It takes between five and 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.
The pilot study has been supported by grants from Brain Foundation, Lundbeck and Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation.
It will be co-led by Professor Alessandro Zagami from University of NSW.
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