Soldiers in Iraq Have Twice As Many Migraines

Friday, June 23, 2006
By Kathleen Doheny

U.S. combat soldiers in Iraq are more than twice as likely to suffer migraine headaches as the general American population.

That news was reported by a military doctor at the 48th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in Los Angeles.

While about one in seven Americans suffers migraines or "probable migraines," more than one in three soldiers did so during the last three months of their one-year tour of combat duty, according to the doctor’s study. Just one in 20 of them had been diagnosed before being deployed.

"We're the first to study migraine in deployed soldiers," says Captain Brett Theeler, MD, a neurology resident at Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Wash., who presented the data.

He decided to do the study after noticing soldiers coming into the medical center at Fort Lewis who were complaining of headaches. "We had a hypothesis it would be more common ([among soldiers seeing combat],” he says.

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