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Posted by DaveH ( on November 29, 2001 at 22:42:52:

Modular headache theory may explain headache spectrumLast Updated: 2001-11-26 18:05:34 EST (Reuters Health)WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) - The newly proposed modular headache theory may help explain the whole spectrum of primary headaches and their variations, according to a report in the November 15th issue of Cephalalgia."Many people experience headaches that do not fulfill the International Headache Society's criteria for a specific headache disorder yet behave biologically like that disorder," Dr. William B. Young and colleagues from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia explain. "Others fulfill criteria for one headache disorder and yet have features of another disorder."To explain these observations, the researchers developed a conceptual model that, when activated, produces symptoms of a primary headache disorder. "Any primary headache many be described as a group of modules, with one module for each of the main clinical manifestations," they explain.The investigators note that this theory may also help explain the comorbid associations of certain brain disorders, including depression and anxiety, that are often seen with headaches. One or more headache modules, they explain, could be linked in areas of the brain involved in generating these disorders."This new model can be tested and may eventually allow for improved treatment based on the clinical features of the headache disorder," the authors note. "Modern functional imaging techniques may provide a means to identify the locations of modules and perhaps explain how they are linked."The use of the modular headache theory has certain implications for treatment, according to the team. Treatment may not work if only one module is targeted because other modules remain active. More effective therapy may be treatment aimed at multiple modules."Modular headache theory, if valid, demonstrates that the IHS classification system is, in effect, an attempt to describe statistically valid associations between modules across a population," Dr. Young and colleagues write. "Therefore, the best method of deriving a valid headache classification system is to assess headache symptoms (modules) across a population without imposing pre-existing biases."Cephalalgia 2001;21:842-849.-Westport Newsroom 203 319 2700 Copyright 2001 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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