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Migraine attacks among medical students in Soochow University, Southeast China: a cross-sectional study

Authors Gu X, Xie YJ

Received 6 November 2017

Accepted for publication 10 January 2018

Published 12 April 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 771—781


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Xiao Gu,1,2 Yaojie Xie1

1School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong; 2Intensive Care Unit, Suzhou Municipal Hospital, Suzhou, China

Purpose: Migraine is one of the most common primary headache disorders and is burdensome to both the individual and society, influencing the academic performance and quality of daily lives of medical students worldwide. This study aimed to investigate the migraine prevalence in a sample of university medical students in China and to examine the features and typical trigger factors of migraine among these students.
Patients and methods: From May 2016 to August 2016, a total of 1,060 medical students who were enrolled in Soochow University in Jiangsu Province in China were chosen through stratified random sampling. A self-administered questionnaire that included the ID MigraineTM for screening of migraine cases was used to collect data. The frequency, severity, duration of migraine attacks, and relevant trigger factors were measured for migraine cases. In total, 986 students completed the questionnaire.
Results: The overall migraine prevalence among students was 7.91%, with 4.64% in male and 9.84% in female students. Junior-grade students had a higher migraine prevalence than senior students (prevalence of migraine of year 1 to year 5 undergraduates: 10.83%, 8.9% vs. 6.25%, 4.42%, 5.33%, P<0.05; prevalence of migraine of year 1 to year 3 graduates: 9.68%, 9.71% vs. 6.38%, P<0.05). Students with a positive family history were more likely to suffer migraine than those without (OR=8.48, 95% CI: 4.33–16.59). Stress (n=73, 93.59%), lack of sleep (n=72, 92.31%), and change of sleeping time (n=68, 87.18%) were the top three trigger factors among the students.
Conclusion: Migraine was common among medical students from a university in China, and especially higher in female and junior-grade students, and those with a family history of migraine. Reducing stress and improving sleep quality might be effective to reduce migraine attacks in this population.

Keywords: headache, screening, characteristics, gender, family history, junior students, stress, sleep problems

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