Migraine tied to sharply higher risks for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease

  • Int J Geriatr Psychiatry

  • de Susan London
  • Clinical Essentials
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  • Older adults with a history of migraine had roughly a tripling and quadrupling of the 5-year risks for all-cause dementia and for Alzheimer’s disease, respectively.

Why this matters

  • These associations may have implications for migraine management, dementia screening, and intervention.

 Key results

  • Incidences during 5-year follow-up:
    • All-cause dementia: 7.5%.
    • Alzheimer’s disease: 5.1%.
    • Vascular dementia: 1.9%.
  • All migraineurs developing dementia were women.
  • Relative to older adults without a history of migraine, those with a history of migraine had elevated risks for:
    • All‐cause dementia (aOR, 2.97; 95% CI, 1.25‐6.61).
    • Alzheimer’s disease (aOR, 4.22; 95% CI, 1.59‐10.42).
  • No significant association seen for vascular dementia:
    • Before adjustment (unadjusted OR, 1.83; 95% CI, 0.39‐8.52).
    • After adjustment (aOR, 1.52; 95% CI, 0.20‐7.23).

Study design

  • Canadian prospective, population‐based cohort study of 679 cognitively intact, community‐dwelling individuals aged ≥65 years (Manitoba Study of Health and Aging).
  • Main outcomes: all‐cause dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia.
  • Funding: National Health Research and Development Program of Health Canada.


  • Use of a single, self-reported migraine measure that did not distinguish between migraines with and without aura.
  • Exclusion of participants who died during follow-up.
  • Low incidence of vascular dementia.
  • Inability to assess risk according to sex.