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Cephalalgia. 2008 Oct;28(10):1023-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2982.2008.01639.x. Epub 2008 Jul 8.

The usefulness and applicability of a basic headache diary before first consultation: results of a pilot study conducted in two centres.

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University Centre for the Study of Adaptive Disorders and Headache (UCADH), IRCCS 'C. Mondino Institute of Neurology' Foundation, Pavia, Italy.


We tested the usefulness and applicability of a simplified headache diary in the diagnosis of migraine (M), tension-type headache (TTH) and medication overuse headache (MOH). The diary was given to headache patients before their first consultation at the headache centre. Seventy-six naive headache patients completed the study. Their understanding of the diary proved highly satisfactory. The patients' level of compliance was also good, with 71% returning the diary completely filled in. The data entered in the diary were deemed complete for the diagnostic purpose in 93% of cases. The level of agreement between headache information gathered through clinical interview and the headache diary was satisfactory. When comparing the diary with the clinical interview, sensitivity was 92% for M, 75% for TTH and MOH. Specificity was 58% for M and TTH, 87% for MOH. Combined use of a diagnostic diary and clinical interview is recommended from the first consultation for headache.

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