A Comparison of Headache Assessment via Digital Platform in United States (HeAD-US) & American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Studies

This is a summary of a poster presented by Dr A. Ezzati at the American Academy of Neurology in 2024.

Migraine is a tough challenge for many, but technology is helping us get a better grip on this painful condition. The HeAD-US (Headache Assessment via Digital Platform in the United States) study is diving into the world of migraines using Migraine Buddy. This app is changing the game by letting users track their headaches and provide valuable data that researchers can analyze. Here’s what we’ve learned from this innovative study.

What is the HeAD-US Study?

Started in September 2023, the HeAD-US study uses the Migraine Buddy app to collect detailed information about migraines from people across the U.S. Unlike older studies, like the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) study, which used mail surveys, HeAD-US uses a smartphone app to gather real-time data on things like attack frequency, severity, treatment patterns, and responses.

Goals of the Study

  1. Check the Facts: See how accurate the self-reported migraine diagnoses are from Migraine Buddy users.
  2. Compare Notes: Look at how the data from HeAD-US stacks up against the older AMPP study.
  3. Show the Power of Apps: Demonstrate how migraine tracking apps can give us deep insights into the migraine population.

How It Works

Participants use the Migraine Buddy app to log their migraine experiences. This method provides a treasure trove of data that can be compared to the AMPP study results. By doing this, researchers can check if the app’s self-reports are reliable and identify any changes in migraine patterns over time.

What We Found Out

  1. Who’s Participating: The HeAD-US group is younger (average age 40.8 years) compared to the AMPP group (average age 46.4 years). More women and a slightly higher number of non-white participants are in the HeAD-US study.
  2. Migraine Diagnoses and Frequency: A whopping 91.7% of HeAD-US participants meet the criteria for migraine, which is much higher than the 65.1% in the AMPP study. Chronic migraine is also more common in the HeAD-US group (36% compared to 6.6% in AMPP).
  3. Headache and Disability: People in the HeAD-US study report more frequent headaches and higher disability levels. On average, those with episodic migraine have 6.1 headache days per month (compared to 3.0 in AMPP), and those with chronic migraine have 20.9 days (slightly fewer than AMPP’s 22.1 days). Severe disability is more common in HeAD-US participants, affecting 93.9% of chronic migraine sufferers and 69.2% of episodic migraine sufferers.
  4. Gender Differences: Both studies show that women are more likely than men to experience severe disability due to migraines, but the gap is wider in the HeAD-US study.

Why It Matters

The HeAD-US study shows that digital platforms like Migraine Buddy can provide incredibly accurate and detailed data about migraines. This kind of information is crucial for doctors and researchers who are working to understand migraines better and develop more effective treatments.

Looking Ahead

The success of the HeAD-US study highlights the potential of using apps to study and manage other health conditions. Future research could expand this approach to other areas, offering real-time insights and improving patient care.

A Tool for Neurologists

Migraine Buddy is proving to be a fantastic tool not only for patients but also for neurologists. By providing accurate and comprehensive data on migraine patterns, this app helps doctors make more informed diagnoses and prescribe more effective treatments. With detailed logs of attack frequency, severity, and treatment responses, neurologists can tailor their approach to each patient’s unique needs. This means better, more personalized care and potentially better outcomes for those struggling with migraines.

By using technology in new and innovative ways, we can gain a better understanding of migraines and improve the lives of those who suffer from this chronic condition. Apps like Migraine Buddy are leading the way, proving that the future of health research is digital.

Ezzati et al poster AAN 2024 HeAD-US study

Jenny from Migraine Buddy
Ezzati et al poster AAN 2024
HeAD-US study

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