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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Diagnosing migraine in research and clinical settings: The validation of the Structured Migraine Interview (SMI)

Zainab Samaan1*, E Anne MacGregor2, Dowson Andrew3, Peter McGuffin4 and Anne Farmer4

Author Affiliations

1 Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

2 The City of London Migraine Clinic and Research Centre for Neuroscience, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of London, London, UK

3 King's Headache Service, King's College Hospital, London, UK

4 Medical Research Council Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK

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BMC Neurology 2010, 10:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-7

Published: 14 January 2010

Abstract

Background

Migraine is a common disorder that is highly co-morbid with psychopathological conditions such as depression and anxiety. Despite the extensive research and availability of treatment, migraine remains under-recognised and undertreated. The aim of this study was to design a short and practical screening tool to identify migraine for clinical and research purposes.

Methods

The structured migraine interview (SMI) based on the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD) criteria was used in a clinical setting of headache sufferers and compared to clinical diagnosis by headache specialist. In addition to the validating characteristics of the interview different methods of administration were also tested.

Results

The SMI has high sensitivity (0.87) and modest specificity (0.58) when compared to headache specialist's clinical diagnosis.

Conclusions

Our study demonstrated that a structured interview based on the ICHD criteria is a useful and valid tool to identify migraine in research settings and to a limited extent in clinical settings, and could be used in studies on large samples where clinical interviews are less practical.