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Reducing the burden of headache
  1. K Hagen

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    Edited by J Olesen, T J Steiner, R B Lipton. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003. (Pp 425; £85.00). ISBN 0-19-851589-8

    Although not specifically stated this book represents the proceedings of the 11th international headache research seminar held in Copenhagen in March 2002. This 11th volume in the series Frontiers in Headache Research aims to bring the reader up to date on studies of the burden of headache. All the books in the series follow a similar structure: “Each topic is introduced by one or more overview chapters by leading experts. Thereafter, data from new studies are presented in short articles. Finally, each topic closes with a summary of discussion by the chairpersons.”

    This volume of 68 chapters is divided into six sections. In the preface the editors state that migraine, according to WHO, is number 20 of all diseases with regard to years lived with disability. They also state that migraine has more impact on quality of life than many other diseases generally considered to be more serious. In section I and II, headache related disability and quality of life are discussed in more detail. Section III deals with family burden, comorbidities, and healthcare utilisation for headache. Section IV discusses economic aspects of headache, whereas the two last sections describe and analyse guidelines and intervention aimed at improving health care for headache.

    The studies presented at the 2002 Copenhagen meeting, and subsequently published in this volume, are described comparatively briefly and with variable quality. The most interested readers will probably need to search for more detailed information from those studies also published elsewhere. However, an interesting summary discussion highlights key points at the end of each section. From my point of view, this book should be on the reading list of everyone involved in headache research, and may also be of interest to epidemiologists as well as primary healthcare workers.