Cognitive aging in migraine sufferers is associated with more subjective complaints but similar age-related decline: a 5-year longitudinal study

Isabel Pavão Martins*, Carolina Maruta, Pedro Nacimento Alves, Clara Loureiro, Joana Morgado, Joana Tavares, Raquel Gil-Gouveia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Objectives and background: The effect of headache on cognitive performance is controversial, due to conflicting results obtained from studies in clinical or population settings. We aimed to understand if migraine and other headaches modify the rates of decline on different cognitive measures, during a 5-year interval. Design and method: A cohort of community dwelling adults (> 50 years) with migraine (MH), non-migraine headaches (NMH) and controls without headache (WoH), was assessed by a comprehensive neuropsychological battery with tests of memory, language and executive functions, repeated 5 years apart. Change in performance between baseline and reevaluation was compared between groups, and controlled for age, gender, literacy and depressive symptoms. Results: A total of 275 participants (78.5% WoH, 12.7% MH, 8.7% NMH) were reevaluated (average age 70.40 + 8.34 years, 64% females). Cognitive decline or dementia occurred in 11.4%, with a similar proportion among the three groups. Although MH participants had significantly more subjective cognitive complaints (p = 0.030, 95%CI:]-3.929,-0.014[), both MH and NMH subjects showed an age-associated decline identical to controls. Furthermore, migraine features (disease and attack duration, frequency and aura) were unrelated with cognitive performance. Conclusion: Migraine and non-migraine headache are not associated with increasing risk of dementia or cognitive decline at an older age although subjects with migraine have more cognitive complaints. Longer longitudinal studies are necessary to understand if this pattern persists for more than 5 years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • 5-year follow-up
  • Cognitive performance
  • Executive deficits
  • Migraine headache
  • Pain

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