We aimed to assess the association between migraine headache and incident dementia.
Migraine is a risk factor for white matter hyperintensities and ischemic stroke, which are both associated with increased risk of dementia. However, it is unknown whether migraine is independently associated with dementia.
History of migraine was ascertained via questionnaire. Adjudicated cases of dementia were identified using cognitive tests, neuropsychological exams, and clinician review of suspected cases. Incident dementia was identified using adjudicated cases, follow-up calls, and surveillance of hospital and death codes. We assessed hazards of incident dementia by migraine status. Sex differences were also examined and stratified results were presented.
Analysis included 12,495 White and African American participants ages 51-70 with a median follow-up time of 21 years. Prevalence of dementia was 18.5% (1821/9955) among those with no migraine history, 15.8% (196/1243) among those with severe non-migraine heading, and 16.7% (233/1397) among migraineurs. There was no association between migraine and incident dementia [hazard ratio: 1.04 (0.91, 1.20)]. There was also no statistically significant interaction between sex and migraine status on risk of dementia.
Despite evidence of brain abnormalities in migraineurs, there was no association between migraine and incident dementia in this prospective cohort.

© 2020 American Headache Society.