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Neurology. 1997 Jul;49(1):195-200.

Prevalence of headaches in a Chinese elderly population in Kinmen: age and gender effect and cross-cultural comparisons.

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  • 1Neurological Institute, Veterans General Hospital-Taipei, Taiwan.



To investigate the prevalence of headaches in a Chinese elderly population.


There are few headache surveys in the elderly. Previous studies have shown a low headache prevalence in Chinese.



eligible registered residents > or = 65 years old (N = 2,003) in two townships of Kinmen Island on August 1, 1993. All participants completed a headache questionnaire and underwent clinical evaluation and examination by a neurologist. Headache diagnoses were made according to the International Headache Society, 1988.


1,533 persons (77%) participated in the study, of whom 584 (38%) had at least one episode of headache in the previous year. One-year prevalence of migraine was 3.0%, and tension-type headache, 35%. The prevalence of migraine, but not tension-type headaches, continued to decline with age in the elderly. Life-time prevalence of "incapacitating headache" was 10%, and that of migraine, 5.2%. Forty-two percent of migraineurs stopped having migraine before this survey. In comparison with "10 years ago" 8% participants felt their current headaches were worse, 25% better, and 67%, no change, with a net improvement of 17%.


We have reported the highest headache prevalence among different Chinese elderly populations, but these were still lower than those reported from Western series. More than half of the elderly life-time migraineurs still had attacks of migraine. Severe headaches, including migraine but not tension-type headaches, declined with age.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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