BACKGROUND: In the literature there are few data about the prevalence of primary headaches, including migraine, in the Italian general population. The PACE study (PArma CEfalea, or 'Headache in Parma') is an observational study aimed at detecting the prevalence and clinical features of primary headaches in the city of Parma's adult general population. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 904 subjects representative of Parma's adult general population were interviewed face-to-face by a physician from the Parma Headache Centre. They were given a specially designed and validated questionnaire for the diagnosis of primary headaches according to the ICHD-II criteria. RESULTS: Past-year adjusted prevalence of definite migraine, including migraine with and without aura and chronic migraine, was 24.7% (95% CI 21.9 to 27.5); 13% (95% CI 9.7 to 16.4) were men and 32.9% (95% CI 28.8 to 37.0) were women. Past-year prevalence of probable migraine was 5.1% (95% CI 3.6 to 6.5): 5.2% (95% CI 3.0 to 7.4) in men and 5% (95% CI 3.1 to 6.9) in women. CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of definite migraine is the major difference between our results and the literature data. Such a difference in results may be due to the use of a different investigational approach compared with the other epidemiological studies. However, an actual higher frequency of migraine in the Italian general population cannot be excluded given the lack of studies on this topic.
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