More migraines for no apparent reason

Migraine rates in a comprehensive Norwegian health study have climbed by 1 per cent in a decade, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology report.

That may not sound like much, but in the Norwegian context, it means 45,000 more migraine sufferers -- and if the trend were to hold for the European Union, that would be an additional 5 million more people plagued by migraines.

Mystery migraines

The findings, published in the latest issue of Cephalalgia, a medical journal, compare data from a survey conducted in the mid-1990s to data collected in 2006-2008, shows that people aged 20-50 years are more prone to migraines now than in the mid 1990s.

The numbers are derived from the second and third phases of the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, called HUNT 2 and 3 after their Norwegian acronyms, which represent one of the largest comprehensive health studies in the world.

HUNT 2 involved the collection of a health history during 1995-1997 from 74,000 people, with the collection of blood samples from 65,000 people. The follow-up, called HUNT 3, involved 48,289 people, many of whom were represented in the earlier study.