Open Access

Migraine and disability: WHO's work to measure functioning, disability and health and the Global Burden of Diseases Study

  • Matilde Leonardi
The Journal of Headache and PainOfficial Journal of the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches4:00002


This paper briefly describes some of the work developed by the World Health Organization in the field of health, disability and burden of diseases and how this work has relevant implications for migraine and, in general, for headache disorders. It presents some of the basic principles of the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) study, its goals and some of its outcomes as related to neurological and psychiatric disorders as well as the implications for neuropsychiatric disorders to move from mortality towards disability indicators. It also presents some of the World Health Report 2001's data, where migraine has been reported as a leading cause of years lived with disability. A brief presentation of the basic principles of the WHO Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) is provided as well as the reasons why ICF answers the pressing need for new measures for health. This WHO's instrument will be useful for the classification of functioning and disability in the field of headache disorders.

Key words World Health ReportDisabilityBurden of diseaseDALYsYLDClassification of functioningDisability and healthBurden of migraine