Global Campaign against Headache

Global Burden of Disease Studies

The Global Burden of Disease Studies translate prevalence data into burden quantified as years of life lost to disability (YLDs). They do this by applying disability weights for the many and various health states generated by living with disease, developed through a process of worldwide consultation.

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD2010) was undertaken by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Our contributions were to ensure inclusion not only of migraine (which was included in the earlier GBD2000) but also of tension-type headache, to collate the worldwide epidemiological evidence for each of these disorders, and to describe the health states associated with them for the purpose od assigning disability weights.

These contributions resulted in important findings: tension-type headache and migraine are the second and third most prevalent diseases in the world and migraine the 7th highest specific cause of YLDs.

The Global Burden of Disease Study will be regularly updated, and we will similarly contribute to GBD2013. A future objective is to include the highly-burdensome medication-overuse headache.


  • GL Birbeck, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA, University of Zambia, Lusaka, and Chikankata Health Services, Mazabuka, Zambia

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Project partners