Treatment Helped Soldiers With Migraine, Insomnia: Study

WEDNESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment helped improve sleep quality for U.S. soldiers who suffered from migraine headaches after returning from the war in Iraq, a new study found.

Migraine is known to affect about 19% of soldiers returning from Iraq, and is suspected in another 17%. These soldiers may experience poor sleep quality, but treatment -- including education -- can help, according to a research team from the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.

The study findings are scheduled to be presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Headache Society (AHS), held in Los Angeles.

"The research sought to determine if treatment for headache and insomnia could improve sleep quality among our patients with post-traumatic headaches," lead author Dr. Cong Zhi Zhao said in an AHS news release. "We found that three months after initial treatment, those with post-traumatic headache reported significantly improved sleep quality and sleep onset than [at the beginning of the study], although their nightmares and interrupted sleep were not significantly changed."

"Post-traumatic headache and migraine is an important cause of disability in our soldiers that affects their field performance and their lives after returning from the battlefield," Dr. David Dodick, president of the AHS, added in the news release.

"Sleep quality is an important factor which is both a result of and a contributing factor to the disability imposed by these disorders, so this work is an important step in understanding the influence of effective headache treatment on sleep quality," he added.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: American Headache Society, news release, June 23, 2010