The objective of this study was to investigate the importance of genetics in tension-type headache. A MEDLINE search from 1966 to December 2006 was performed for “tension-type headache and prevalence” and “tension-type headache and genetics” The prevalence of tensiontype headache varies from 11 to 93%, with a slight female preponderance. Co-occurrence of migraine increases the frequency of tension-type headache. A family study of chronic tension-type headache suggests that genetic factors are important. A twin study analysing tension-type headache in migraineurs found that genetic factors play a minor role in episodic tension-type headache. Another twin study analysing twin pairs without co-occurrence of migraine showed a significantly higher concordance rate among monozygotic than same-gender dizygotic twin pairs with no or frequent episodic tension-type headache, while the difference was minor in twin pairs with infrequent episodic tensiontype headache. Frequent episodic and chronic tension-type headache is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, while infrequent episodic tensiontype headache is caused primarily by environmental factors.
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