S Usai

Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (90)209.5 Total impact

  • L Grazzi, S Usai
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic migraine is a common and debilitating headache syndrome. Botulinum neurotoxin, a potent toxin produced by the anaerobic bacterium clostridium botulinum, used largely for treatment of disorders associated with increased muscle tone and hyperhidrosis, is used for patients suffering from chronic migraine. In this study, a group of patients suffering from chronic migraine with medication overuse was treated with onabotulinum toxin A (Botox) to verify its efficacy for chronic migraine. The results confirmed the efficacy of onabotulinum toxin A (Botox) when used at the dosage of 155 UI according to the PREEMPT protocol. Although these results are preliminary, they led to intense efforts to evaluate the analgesic properties of onabotulinum toxin A (Botox) and to assess its use in clinical practice, in particular in migraine field.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2015; 36 Suppl 1(S1):33-5. DOI:10.1007/s10072-015-2140-2 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment of chronic migraine with medication overuse requires withdrawal from acute medications. However, guidelines and clear indications for different intensity regimens, i.e., day hospital (DH) vs. inpatient treatment, are not available. Patients completed disability, quality of life (QoL) and depression questionnaires; headaches frequency and overused medications category were collected. Mann-Whitney U test and Chi square were used to assess differences between inpatients and DH patients; Bonferroni correction was applied. 194 patients aged 43.9 ± 12 (160 females) were enrolled (100 from DH, 94 inpatients). Inpatients were older, less educated and with lower employment rates. Inpatients had higher MIDAS scores (P = 0.003) and headache frequency (P = 0.002). They had lower QoL for restrictive (P = 0.002) and preventive components; no difference was found for disability, mood state and QoL emotional component. Patients treated during hospitalization had higher disease severity and lower quality of life, but similar disability and mood state than those treated in DH.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2015; 36 Suppl 1(S1):5-8. DOI:10.1007/s10072-015-2134-0 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Chronic migraine with medication overuse (CM-MO) impairs quality of life (QoL) and causes disability. Psychosocial variables such as depressive symptomatology, self-efficacy, and social support have been sparingly investigated, and their impact on disability and QoL is unknown.Methods Patients with CM-MO under withdrawal were consecutively enrolled. Standardized measures of disability and QoL were used as outcomes; psychosocial (ie, mood state, self-efficacy, social support) and clinical (ie, headache frequency and intensity) variables were considered as associated variables. Associations between these variables, disability, and QoL were tested with Pearson's correlations. Hierarchical multiple regression was used to assess the cumulative contribution of psychosocial variables on disability and QoL variation when added to clinical variables.ResultsOne hundred ninety-four patients were enrolled; 82.5% were females and mean age was 43.9. Disability and QoL were moderately or little correlated to clinical and psychosocial variables. Models based on clinical variables explained 7.5-14.3% of disability and QoL variation, with pain intensity being the only significant predictor; when psychosocial variables were added, the explained variation increased to 21.5-35.2%, with depressive symptomatology always having independent predictive power and perceived social support having independent predictive power in the regression model over role-prevention component of QoL.Conclusions Adding information on psychosocial variables to headache features improved our ability to understand disability and QoL of CM-MO patients. We deem that the inclusion of psychosocial variables in standard evaluation protocols may contribute to the global assessment of CM-MO patients, and eventually to their success in reducing the personal and social impact of this condition. Future longitudinal studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis.
    Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain 05/2015; 55(5). DOI:10.1111/head.12534 · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic migraine with medication overuse (CM-MO) have decreased quality of life (QoL) and increased disability: the degree to which these outcomes are connected to disease severity and the pattern of MO towards disease severity are unclear. Patients under withdrawal were administered the Migraine Disability Assessment (MIDAS), the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS), and the Migraine-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (MSQ). They overused NSAIDs, triptans, NSAIDs and triptans, and other drugs (ergotamine, caffeine, opioids/barbiturates). We calculated the correlations between MIDAS, WHODAS, and MSQ; compared WHODAS to normative scores; compared MIDAS, WHODAS, and MSQ in patients with different CM-MO severity; and run a logistic regression to predict CM-MO severity based on overused drugs. One hundred ninety-four patients were enrolled: correlations between WHODAS, MSQ, and MIDAS were moderate; wide differences on WHODAS against normative were found; and no trend was found across severity groups. Compared to triptans overusers, patients overusing NSAID and other drugs had higher odds of severe CM-MO. Coupling different disability measures with QoL assessment offered different insights on the lived experience of CM-MO. Future studies are needed to clarify the relationship between overused drugs and CM-MO severity: we added evidence that NSAIDs do not have protective effect in high-frequency CM-MO. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Journal of the Neurological Sciences 11/2014; 348(1-2). DOI:10.1016/j.jns.2014.11.004 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Even after successful detoxification, 20-40% of subjects presenting chronic migraine with symptomatic medication overuse (CMwMO) relapse into medication overuse within one year. In this restrospective analysis on subjects referred to our center for detoxification, we investigated whether personality traits, dependency-like behaviors and pain coping styles predicted those who relapsed into medication overuse within the 12 months following the detoxification and those who did not.Methods63 patients with CMwMO were assessed for personality traits, mood and anxiety, pain coping styles and dependency-like behaviors prior-to and one year after a detoxification program.ResultsOf the 42 subjects who attended 1-year follow-up interviews, 11 relapsed into medication overuse despite a temporary benefit from detoxification and did not show clinical or psychological improvement, instead reporting increased anxiety and unmodified perpetuation of severe dependency-like behaviors. In contrast, subjects who did not relapse into medication overuse had clinical improvements that generalized to untreated domains, including decreased depressive symptoms and dependency-like behaviors, although showing unmodified low internal control over pain.Conclusions Subjects who did not fall into medication overuse throughout the 12 months following the detoxification showed improved clinical, affective and dependence-related outcomes, but not pain coping strategies. Conversely, subjects who relapsed within one year into CMwMO continued to experience significant disability, pain intensity, and dependency-like behaviors. We believe that the persistence of maladaptive pain coping strategies and residual symptomatology increase the risk for recurrent relapses, against which pharmacological interventions are only partially effective. Further studies investigating predictors of relapse are needed to inform multi-disciplinary interventions for CMwMO.
    BMC Neurology 09/2014; 14(1):181. DOI:10.1186/s12883-014-0181-4 · 2.49 Impact Factor
  • L Grazzi, S Usai, G Bussone
    The Journal of Headache and Pain 09/2014; 15(Suppl 1):G12-G12. DOI:10.1186/1129-2377-15-S1-G12 · 3.28 Impact Factor
  • L Grazzi, S Usai, G Bussone
    The Journal of Headache and Pain 09/2014; 15(Suppl 1):G11-G11. DOI:10.1186/1129-2377-15-S1-G11 · 3.28 Impact Factor
  • Licia Grazzi, Susanna Usai
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    ABSTRACT: The application of Botulinum toxin for several pathological conditions has been largely debated in the last decades and its use has been definitively consolidated for disorders related to increased muscle tone and hyperidrosis. Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT-A) is a potent toxin produced by an anaerobic bacterium, Clostridium botulinum, which presents several pharmacological proprieties, but also different and serious contraindications. As chronic migraine (CM) is commonly reported as a serious and debilitating condition and a big challenge from the therapeutic point of view, in the last decades, after isolated observations, BoNT-A has been applied as preventive treatment for CM patients and, after randomized and rigorous studies, it has been accepted among the most effective pharmacological treatments for these problematic patients. In the present report, a group of patients suffering from CM with medication overuse was treated with BoNT-A to verify its efficacy for CM. The results confirmed the efficacy of BoNT-A when used at the dosage of 155 UI, according with the PREEMPT study protocol. Although these results are preliminary, in a limited group of patients, they led to intense efforts to enforce the use of BoNT-A for CM and to assess its clinical applicability.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2014; 35 Suppl 1:37-9. DOI:10.1007/s10072-014-1739-z · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been postulated that chronic pain and chronic migraine in particular, can be connected to immunologic disturbances. Moreover the psychiatric comorbidity is often responsible of migraine chronification, but also of developing of particular immune function alterations. The role of the immune system in migraine precipitation is still under debate also if speculations about the evidence of infections in migraine patients has been performed, but not always corroborated by clinical and scientific explanations. In this report we present an evaluation of specific immune parameters in patients suffering from different forms of migraine respect to controls in order to determine possible alterations in immune function: speculations about the evidenced abnormalities are attempted.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2014; 35 Suppl 1(S1):171-3. DOI:10.1007/s10072-014-1763-z · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the study is to assess validity, reliability and factor structure of the Italian version of Migraine-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire v2.1 (MSQ) in patients suffering from chronic migraine (CM) with a history of medication overuse (MO). Patients were enroled at hospital admission for withdrawal from MO. Factor analysis was used to confirm the latent structure of the MSQ. Reliability was measured with Cronbach's alpha coefficient, item-total correlation and inter-item correlation. Construct validity was assessed with Pearson's coefficient and known-group analysis. The three-factor structure is basically confirmed. Cronbach's alpha varied between 0.85 and 0.92; item-total correlations were on average higher than 0.70; average inter-item correlation ranged between 0.63 and 0.65. Correlations were all significant; known-group analysis shows that MSQ score was lower consistently with disease severity. Our findings confirm the factor structure, reliability and validity of the MSQ and expand results of previous validation studies to the Italian language and to a group of patients with severe CM requiring withdrawal treatment for MO.
    Quality of Life Research 10/2013; 23(4). DOI:10.1007/s11136-013-0556-9 · 2.86 Impact Factor
  • Journal of the Neurological Sciences 10/2013; 333:e485-e486. DOI:10.1016/j.jns.2013.07.1722 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Headache disorders determine relevant personal and societal burden, and thus the use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) investigating the level of disability and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) have been increasingly used in headache research. The aim of this review was to address the status of research on disability and HRQoL, by addressing results from recently published clinical trials as well as in longitudinal observational studies on headache patients. PubMed has been searched for papers in which measures of HRQoL and/or disability were used as primary or secondary outcome on adult subjects with primary headache, and published in 2010-2012. Among the 70 records retrieved, 12 papers were selected for narrative synthesis. They included data on 2,621 patients with episodic migraine with and without aura, chronic daily headache, and/or chronic migraine with and without medication overuse. The selected trials investigated the efficacy of different pharmacological prophylaxis, of some surgical approaches, of education programmes and osteopathic manipulative treatment; two studies reported longitudinal observations of patients currently under treatment. Overall, the results of our review showed that headache frequency as well as HRQoL and disability were positively impacted by treatment interventions; positive outcomes were less evident in two studies, and similar results were found in the two observational studies. Our findings confirmed that the most commonly used PROMs, including disease-specific tools to assess disability and HRQoL and SF-36, are sensitive to the beneficial effects occurring over time in functioning and quality of life domains in headache patients. They also suggest that the personal and societal costs of headache disorders are likely to be reduced when headache patients receive appropriate treatments and when continuity of care is offered. In terms of future directions, we note that the systematic use of appropriate PROMs should be encouraged both in the clinical practice and in the research field, as they offer a valid option to assess the global effect of treatments on patient-perceived sense of well-being and quality of performance.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2013; 34 Suppl 1(S1):1-5. DOI:10.1007/s10072-013-1378-9 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper aims to evaluate changes in disease severity, disability and mood state in patients with chronic migraine associated to medication overuse (CM-MO). MIDAS was used for assessing disease activity, WHO-DAS-2 for disability, DBI-2 for mood state. ANOVA was used to test change over time; t-test to assess follow-up differences in WHO-DAS-2 and BDI-2 between patients with MIDAS ≤20 and ≥21. Change in MIDAS, WHO-DAS-2 and BDI-2 scores were computed: Pearson's index was used to assess correlation between them; linear regression to assess change in WHO-DAS-2, using MIDAS and BDI-2 change as predictors. Mean MIDAS decreased significantly (from 101.9 to 52.0). In 26.1 % of the sample, MIDAS fell below 21 at follow-up: these patients had lower WHO-DAS-2 score. WHO-DAS-2 change was little correlated to MIDAS change and strongly correlated to changes in BDI-2 scores. 57.1 % of WHO-DAS-2 change variance is explained by change in BDI-2 and MIDAS scores. There was a clear clinical improvement 14 months after detoxification, and a modest reduction in disability which is explained by reduced disease activity and improved mood state. An appropriate treatment of CM-MO, based on detoxification and prophylaxis, is likely to reduce disease burden: recognition and treatment of mood problems may be a key factor to reduce disability.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2013; 34 Suppl 1(1):139-40. DOI:10.1007/s10072-013-1371-3 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Psychiatric disorders in migraine patients have a higher prevalence than general population. The presence of psychiatric comorbidities may influence the complexity of the migraine pictures and be related to medication overuse. Severely impaired chronic migraineurs presenting with medication overuse are a challenge for headache clinics. Psychiatric comorbities, such as dependency-like behaviors, anxiety and mood symptoms, might account for headache-related disability and recurrent relapses into medication overuse after a successful detoxification. Within a sample of 63 chronic migraineurs with medication overuse and severe disability, we investigated to which extent clinical severity, affective states and attitudes about medication impact the overall functioning at time of detoxification. To unravel whether some of these factors could predict their long-term outcome, we followed and retest them 1 year after withdrawal. We hypothesized that the detoxification would have led to a partial improvement and not modified the attitudes toward medication and dependence. Detoxification improves most of the clinical and affective measures, but does not free from significant levels of pain intensity and headache-related disability. The partial benefit from detoxification, the severity bias and the maladaptive cognitive profile led us to believe that subgroups of chronic-relapsing migraineurs deserve a multidisciplinary approach that addresses not only the reduction of clinical severity but also specific cognitive and behavioral impairments.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2013; 34 Suppl 1(1):61-6. DOI:10.1007/s10072-013-1359-z · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic headache and medication overuse are particularly difficult to treat, with no one approach being universally accepted. Some type of withdrawal program, however, is typically implemented before beginning a pharmacological prophylaxis treatment. Different withdrawal modalities have been performed for managing these patients: at first step, in-patient withdrawal has been confirmed effective in preceding clinical experiences. In recent years, new modalities for withdrawal have been developed as day-hospital setting. Purpose of this study was to determine the clinical course of a sample of chronic migraine patients with medication overuse 3 years after day-hospital withdrawal. A group of 202 patients were treated. Patients were suffering from chronic migraine with medication overuse according with IHS criteria. All patients were submitted to a day-hospital withdrawal and then they were followed with meetings every 3 months until the first year and then every 6 months until the last follow-up 3 years after withdrawal. Eighty patients achieved the last follow-up meeting 3 years after withdrawal. Patients clinically improved, significantly, both for days of headache per month and consumption of medications per month. From these results, the day-hospital setting for withdrawal, followed by periodic clinical meetings, seems to be effective for this category of patients to improve significantly at long-term headache frequency and analgesics intake.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2013; 34 Suppl 1(1):167-9. DOI:10.1007/s10072-013-1389-6 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) dysfunction and poor decision making have been described in patients with chronic migraine and medication overuse. These neurobiological underpinnings might explain dependency-like behaviors often described in this condition, such as loss of control over painkillers, high rates of relapse after detoxification, and compromised social functioning. We investigate whether the OFC impairment was a persistent trait in migraine, independent of clinical and affective features, a dynamic result of the need to cope with the increased pain and disability, or a temporary consequence of medication overuse. METHODS: For this purpose, we compared 40 chronic migraineurs with medication overuse, 40 episodic migraineurs, and 40 matched healthy controls. The examination consisted of a clinical interview, Anxiety and Depression Hamilton Scales, Severity of Dependence Scale, and Migraine Disability Assessment questionnaire. A neuropsychological assessment of orbitofrontal function was made through the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Chronic migraineurs with medication overuse were followed for a year after detoxification. RESULTS: We found an impaired decision-making performance among chronic and episodic migraineurs that seems independent of the patients' clinical and affective status. Contrary to the psychiatric and clinical improvement shown 1 year after the detox, CM patients exhibited a persistent IGT deficit. No significant differences in OFC functioning were found between the CM patients who relapsed into medication overuse after detox and those who did not. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings suggest the presence of a persistent OFC dysfunction in migraine as a psychobiologic trait that is not influenced by the presence of medication overuse, the clinical severity of the disease, or the patient's affective status. Further studies are needed to elucidate the etiopathological role of OFC in migraine and medication overuse.
    Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain 11/2012; 52(10). DOI:10.1111/j.1526-4610.2012.02277.x · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    Claudio Irace, Susanna Usai
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    ABSTRACT: The recent article published in the Journal by Lindley and colleagues (Patient Saf. Surg. 2011, 5:33) reported the successful surgical treatment of a persistent thoracic pain following a T7-8 microdiscectomy, truly performed at the 'level immediately above'. The wrong level in spine surgery is a multi-factorial matter and several strategies have been designed and adopted to try decreasing its occurrence. We think that three of these factors are crucial: global strategy, attention, precision in level identification; and the actors we identified are the surgeon, the assistant nurse and the (neuro)radiologist respectively. Basing upon our experience, the role of the radiologist pre- and intraoperatively and the importance of the assistant nurse are briefly described.
    Patient Safety in Surgery 06/2012; 6(1):14. DOI:10.1186/1754-9493-6-14
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperprolactinemia is a condition characterised by an increase of prolactin blood levels (more than 100-200 ng/ml). It is the most common endocrine disorder of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. The clinical characteristics of the headache-hyperprolactinemia-hypophyseal-adenoma association are discussed, the various diagnostic and treatment possibilities are explored and the etiology of the headache is considered in the light of several pathogenetic possibilities. We present two cases. (1) A 35-year-old woman suffering from chronic tension-type headache interspersed with occasional episodes of migraine without aura (as defined by the International Headache Society criteria). She had also suffered menstrual cycle alterations since the age of 16. At the age of 30 she developed amenorrhea with hyperprolactinemia. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans revealed a median-left intrasellar mass. Treatment with cabergoline resulted in complete resolution of both types of headache and the menstrual cycle and prolactin levels returned to normal. The therapy also reduced the volume of the tumour. (2) The second case relates to a 47-year-old man who had been suffering from tension-type headaches for almost 3 months. The patient had never previously suffered from headaches. CT and MRI scans showed a large sellar and suprasellar lesion with raised serum prolactin levels. Treatment with cabergoline had significantly reduced the prolactin levels and had also improved the patient's headaches. High-resolution CT, with and without contrast, or MRI is necessary to visualise microprolactinomas (and other sellar lesions) and confirm the diagnosis.
    Current Pain and Headache Reports 05/2012; 16(4):365-70. DOI:10.1007/s11916-012-0267-x · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic migraine developing medication-overuse headache (MOH) show dependency-like behaviors such as loss of control over analgesics despite adverse consequences on headaches, high rates of relapse after withdrawal from symptomatic medications, and compromised social functioning. Neuroimaging research suggests a common pathophysiology between substance-use disorders and MOH, which involves functional alterations in fronto-striatal networks, particularly in the orbitofrontal region of prefrontal cortex. These findings could explain the impaired decision-making observed in substance-use disorders. We hypothesize that MOH could share fronto-striatal circuit dysfunction and relative decision-making deficit with addiction. We further examine whether this deficit is a persistent cognitive trait or a reversible consequence of medication overuse. This study shows a dataset of 50 patients with MOH before the detoxification. All patients underwent a complete neurological and psychiatric examination. Psychiatric examination consisted of a clinical interview, Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV TR Axis II Personality Disorders, Anxiety and Depression Hamilton Scales, Severity of Dependence Scale. The neurological examination included the migraine disability assessment questionnaire. Neuropsychological assessment of fronto-striatal circuits was investigated using the Iowa gambling task (IGT). Twenty patients monitored for any relapse into medication overuse had 12 months of follow-up. Our sample, characterized by high rates of disability and dependency-like behaviors, exhibited a deficit in IGT performance, indicating an overall impairment in decision-making. All the 20 patients showed neurological and psychiatric improvement at 12-month follow-up, notwithstanding the overuse relapse, but a persistent IGT deficit was found. To our knowledge this is the first study that assesses this cognitive function in patients with MOH. Medication-overuse headache seems to share a persistent decision-making deficit with substance abuse that confirms the orbitofrontal cortex hypometabolism described in literature from a neuropsychological perspective. Looking at these shared neurocognitive features, our results suggest that MOH could belong to the addiction spectrum. Fronto-striatal dysfunction could be a premorbid psychobiological condition of vulnerability explaining the clinical onset of medication overuse and recurrent relapses. We propose that IGT could be used to identify chronic migraine patients with higher risk for medication overuse and relapse.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2012; 33 Suppl 1:S151-5. DOI:10.1007/s10072-012-1071-4 · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study aims to compare disability and mood state in patients with episodic (EM) and chronic migraine associated to medication overuse (CM-MO), and to assess the relationships between the two outcomes. Patients, matched for age and gender, were administered the MIDAS, the WHO-DAS-2 and BDI-2. Difference between EM and CM-MO was assessed with the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test; difference in distribution of patients with severe disability and low mood was tested with contingency coefficient; the correlation between MIDAS, WHO-DAS-2 and BDI-2 was tested with Spearman's index. Seventy patients were enrolled: CM-MO patients reported higher BDI-2 scores and higher MIDAS and WHO-DAS-2 scores, and were more likely to have severe disability and low mood state than those with EM; BDI-2 scores were correlated with disability scores, particularly with WHO-DAS-2. The study shows that disability and mood state are negatively impacted by the presence of more frequent headaches and by the overuse of acute medications.
    Neurological Sciences 05/2012; 33 Suppl 1:S169-71. DOI:10.1007/s10072-012-1076-z · 1.50 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
209.50 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta
      • • Department of Clinical Neurosciences
      • • Division of Neuropathology
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
    • IRCCS Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Nazionale C. Mondino
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2000–2014
    • Foundation of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2003–2010
    • University of West Florida
      • Department of Psychology
      Pensacola, Florida, United States