A breakthrough screening test for diagnosing Migraine

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A breakthrough screening test for diagnosing Migraine

Migraine is a very common and disabling illness. It is usually characterized by one-sided throbbing headache commonly associated with irritability, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, photophobia (extreme sensitivity to light), phonophobia (sensitivity to sound) and blurring of vision. Even though it is highly prevalent half of the sufferers usually go under-diagnosed in primary care clinics.

But recently, researchers have come up with a 3 question-screening test for migraine, which may prove to be a breakthrough in the medical world. This test is called as ID Migraine. This test comprises of 3 questions, which helps in knowing whether a person is suffering from migraine or not. It is a very simple test that can be carried out by a doctor or even the patient himself.

The screening test was designed after carrying out a study on 563 patients who were attending a primary care clinic and complained of headache for the last 3 months. The patients were made to fill a migraine screener (consisting of nine diagnostic screening questions). After this all the patients were referred to a headache expert who diagnosed them without knowing the patients responses in the questionnaire. On comparing the diagnosis given by the specialist with the responses of the questionnaire it was observed that 3 questions stood out significantly and could help in identifying which patients suffered from migraine. Depending on this the researchers designed a new three-question test called ID Migraine. It includes the following questions:

  • Has a headache limited your activities for a day or more in the last three months?
  • Are you nauseated or sick to your stomach when you have a headache?
  • Does light bother you when you have a headache?

If the answer to any of the two questions is ‘Yes’ a person could have migraine.

According to the researchers the sensitivity and specificity of this test was similar in all patients irrespective of their age, gender, presence of other type of headaches or previous diagnosis. In fact, this test can help in identifying approximately 93% of people with migraines.

The above study shows that ID Migraine was found to be a valid and reliable screening test for migraine patients. Hence, use of this simple screening tool can help more people get a proper diagnosis.

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