Behavioral headache research: methodologic considerations and research design alternatives.
ABSTRACT Behavioral headache treatments have garnered solid empirical support in recent years, but there is substantial opportunity to strengthen the next generation of studies with improved methods and consistency across studies. Recently, Guidelines for Trials of Behavioral Treatments for Recurrent Headache were published to facilitate the production of high-quality research. The present article compliments the guidelines with a discussion of methodologic and research design considerations. Since there is no research design that is applicable in every situation, selecting an appropriate research design is fundamental to producing meaningful results. Investigators in behavioral headache and other areas of research consider the developmental phase of the research, the principle objectives of the project, and the sources of error or alternative interpretations in selecting a design. Phases of clinical trials typically include pilot studies, efficacy studies, and effectiveness studies. These trials may be categorized as primarily pragmatic or explanatory. The most appropriate research designs for these different phases and different objectives vary on such characteristics as sample size and assignment to condition, types of control conditions, periods or frequency of measurement, and the dimensions along which comparisons are made. A research design also must fit within constraints on available resources. There are a large number of potential research designs that can be used and considering these characteristics allows selection of appropriate research designs.
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ABSTRACT: Background Many unanswered questions remain regarding behavioral and mind/body interventions in the treatment of primary headache disorders in adults.Methods We reviewed the literature to ascertain the most pressing unanswered research questions regarding behavioral and mind/body interventions for headache.ResultsWe identify the most pressing unanswered research questions in this field, describe ideal and practical ways to address these questions, and outline steps needed to facilitate these research efforts. We discuss proposed mechanisms of action of behavioral and mind/body interventions and outline goals for future research in this field.Conclusions Although challenges arise from the complex nature of the interventions under study, research that adheres to published study design and reporting standards and focuses closely on answering key questions is most likely to lead to progress in achieving these goals.Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain 05/2014; 54(6). DOI:10.1111/head.12362 · 3.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In conformity with current views on patient empowerment, we designed and evaluated the effects of home-based behavioural training (BT) provided by lay trainers with migraine to small groups of fellow patients. The primary aims of BT were to reduce attack frequency and increase perceived control over and self-confidence in attack prevention. In a randomized controlled trial the BT group (n = 51) was compared with a waitlist-control group (WLC), receiving usual care (n = 57). BT produced a minor (−21%) short-term effect on attack frequency and clinically significant improvement in 35% of the participants. Covariance analysis showed a non-significant trend (P = 0.07) compared with WLC. However, patients' perceived control over migraine attacks and self-confidence in attack prevention increased significantly with large effect sizes. Patients with high baseline attack frequency might benefit more from BT than those with low attack frequency. In conclusion, lay trainers with migraine strengthened fellow patients' perceived control, but did not induce a significant immediate improvement in attack frequency.Cephalalgia 01/2008; 28(2):127 - 138. DOI:10.1111/j.1468-2982.2007.01472.x · 4.12 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Guidelines for design of clinical trials evaluating behavioral headache treatments were developed to facilitate production of quality research evaluating behavioral therapies for management of primary headache disorders. These guidelines were produced by a Workgroup of headache researchers under auspices of the American Headache Society. The guidelines are complementary to and modeled after guidelines for pharmacological trials published by the International Headache Society, but they address methodologic considerations unique to behavioral and other nonpharmacological treatments. Explicit guidelines for evaluating behavioral headache therapies are needed as the optimal methodology for behavioral (and other nonpharmacologic) trials necessarily differs from the preferred methodology for drug trials. In addition, trials comparing and integrating drug and behavioral therapies present methodological challenges not addressed by guidelines for pharmacologic research. These guidelines address patient selection, trial design for behavioral treatments and for comparisons across multiple treatment modalities (eg, behavioral vs pharmacologic), evaluation of results, and research ethics. Although developed specifically for behavioral therapies, the guidelines may apply to the design of clinical trials evaluating many forms of nonpharmacologic therapies for headache.Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain 04/2005; 45(s2):S110 - S132. DOI:10.1111/j.1526-4610.2005.4502004.x · 3.19 Impact Factor