Chapter

South America

Carlos A Bordini

in Headache care, research and education worldwide

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199584680
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191753435 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199584680.003.002

Series: Frontiers in Headache Research Series

South America

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The clinical manifestations of migraine do not have specific features that are noteworthy in the South American population. On the other hand, there are some epidemiological and behaviour features that deserve comment. 1. Morillo et al. and Perez et al. showed that a high percentage of migraneurs in South America do not look for medical help. Fernandes showed that many migraneurs do not even know the name of their disorder. Morillo et al. pointed out that several factors contribute to this. Culturally, those suffering from headache feel and probably are socially stigmatized. Migraineurs feel that admitting their illness could lead to segregation and work opportunities could be jeopardized.

In agreement with the conclusion of Morillo et al., while lecturing for many years in Brazil, I observed an increasing number of physicians working in the personnel department of public corporations. In a number of instances, I had the opportunity of asking them if the very fact of being a migraineur, when applying for a job, could weigh in the final decision of being hired or not. Even though they do not admit it overtly, some of them will admit it in private. Hence, besides many other sorts of burden imposed on migraineurs, in South America, we may add this one. 2. A common finding in those studies was the under-diagnosis of migraine being as high as 65% in Morillo et al.’s study. 3. It became clear that the condition is highly prevalent in some regions such as Brazil and has a low prevalence in other countries as in Argentina. Methodological shortfalls, differences in income and ethnical constitution of the different countries could be responsible for such diversity; however, other unknown factors may be present and certainly further studies are needed.

Studies of descriptive epidemiology have assessed the prevalence, distribution burden, and pattern of consultation of migraine in South America during the last decade. The next steps rely on government attitudes. Health authorities should take advantage of these studies to make decisions aiming to improve the quality of life of the millions of migraineurs across South America.

Some efforts have been made by local headache societies. Recently, the Latin America Headache Society (ALADEC) has been formed with the mission of coordinating efforts across different countries and cultures.

Chapter.  1751 words. 

Subjects: Neurology

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