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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Clinical features of headache associated with mobile phone use: a cross-sectional study in university students

Min Kyung Chu1, Hoon Geun Song2, Chulho Kim1 and Byung Chul Lee1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Hallym University College of Medicine, Anyang, Korea

2 Department of electronic, electrical, control & instrumentation engineering, Hanyang University, Ansan, Korea

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BMC Neurology 2011, 11:115  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-115

Published: 26 September 2011

Abstract

Background

Headache has been reported to be associated with mobile phone (MP) use in some individuals. The causal relationship between headache associated with MP use (HAMP) and MP use is currently undetermined. Identifying the clinical features of HAMP may help in clarifying the pathophysiology of HAMP and in managing symptoms of individuals with HAMP. The aim of the present study is to describe the clinical features of HAMP.

Methods

A 14-item questionnaire investigating MP use and headache was administered to 247 medical students at Hallym University, Korea. Individual telephone interviews were subsequently conducted with those participants who reported HAMP more than 10 times during the last 1 year on the clinical features of HAMP. We defined HAMP as a headache attack during MP use or within 1 hour after MP use.

Results

In total, 214 (86.6%) students completed and returned the questionnaire. Forty (18.9%) students experienced HAMP more than 10 times during the last 1 year in the questionnaire survey. In subsequent telephone interviews, 37 (97.4%) interviewed participants reported that HAMP was triggered by prolonged MP use. HAMP was usually dull or pressing in quality (30 of 38, 79.0%), localised ipsilateral to the side of MP use (32 of 38, 84.2%), and associated with a burning sensation (24 of 38, 63.2%).

Conclusion

We found that HAMP usually showed stereotyped clinical features including mild intensity, a dull or pressing quality, localisation ipsilateral to the side of MP use, provocation by prolonged MP use and often accompanied by a burning sensation.