Population-based door-to-door survey of migraine in Japan: the Daisen study

Headache. 2004 Jan;44(1):8-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2004.04004.x.


Objectives: To determine prevalence and characteristics of migraine in Japan, and to investigate use of medical care and whether food preference is associated with risk of migraine.

Methods: Structured questionnaires were given to all adult residents (N = 5758; 2681 men and 3077 women) in Daisen, a rural community in western Japan. Second questionnaires, specific to headache, were given to 1628 residents with headache. A telephone survey was also carried out. Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences analyzed the data.

Results: The 1-year prevalence of migraine was 2.3% (migraine with aura, 0.4% and without aura, 1.9%) in men and 9.1% (migraine with aura, 1.0% and migraine without aura, 8.1%) in women. Overall prevalence of migraine in Daisen was 6.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.4% to 6.6%). Women observed a 5.9-fold higher risk of migraine than men (odds ratio, 5.9; 95% CI, 4.5 to 8.0; P <.0001, after age adjustment, by logistic analysis). Fatigue and loss of vigor were predominant premonitory symptoms of migraine. Fatigue, mental stress, and lack of sleep were the main headache triggers. Over a 3-month period, 20.3% of migraineurs experienced time or days off work due to headache. Only 7.3% of those with migraine with aura and 5.3% of those with migraine without aura had consulted a physician, and of those with migraine, 61.0% with aura and 71.8% without aura had never visited a medical doctor for their headache. Consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking did not influence the risk for migraine or tension-type headache, after age and gender adjustment (logistic analysis). Migraineurs consume significantly more fatty/oily foods, coffee, and tea than nonheadache subjects of the same community. Migraineurs consume significantly fewer fish than nonheadache residents.

Conclusions: Only a few Japanese migraineurs receive benefits of medical services and recent advances of headache medicine. Public education concerning headaches is one of the most urgent issues in Japan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Health
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data