Migraine headaches increases risk of dementia, study finds

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Migraines have long been a subject of medical research due to their complex etiology and debilitating effects.

A recent study published in The Journal of Headache and Pain adds a new dimension to our understanding of this common condition. Led by Kyungduk Hurh from Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, the study investigates whether patients with migraines are at an increased risk of developing dementia.

The research analyzed data from the Korean National Health Insurance Health Screening Cohort, which covered the period from 2002 to 2019.

The team focused on 44,195 patients who had been diagnosed with migraines and matched them with 44,195 patients without migraines.

The matching was done based on propensity scores to ensure that the two groups were comparable on key characteristics.

Key Findings

The study found a notable difference in the incidence rates of dementia between the two groups.

Specifically, the incidence rate was 139.6 cases per 10,000 person-years among patients with migraines, compared to 107.7 cases per 10,000 person-years among the matched controls without migraines.

Furthermore, the hazard ratios indicated that patients with migraines had a significantly higher risk of developing all forms of dementia:

  • All-cause dementia: Hazard ratio 1.30
  • Alzheimer’s dementia: Hazard ratio 1.29
  • Vascular dementia: Hazard ratio 1.35
  • Mixed or other specified dementia: Hazard ratio 1.36
  • Unspecified dementia: Hazard ratio 1.30

The study presents compelling evidence that migraines may be a risk factor for various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.

However, the authors caution that more research is needed to generalize these findings to different populations and to uncover the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms that might link migraines to dementia.


This study is a significant contribution to the ongoing discourse on migraines and dementia, as it suggests a possible link between the two conditions.

While it adds a layer of urgency to the treatment and understanding of migraines, it also highlights the need for more comprehensive research to explore the mechanisms behind this association.

If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about Vitamin D deficiency linked to Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and Oral cannabis extract may help reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms.

If you care about dementia, please read studies that walking patterns may help identify specific types of dementia, and common high blood pressure drugs may help lower your dementia risk.

The research findings can be found in The Journal of Headache and Pain.

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