How migraines impact cognitive function: Findings from the Baltimore ECA

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationship between migraine headaches and cognitive functioning. METHODS: The data were from Waves III (1993 through 1996) and IV (2004 through 2005) of the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. Migraine headaches were diagnosed according to modified criteria of the International Headache Society. Scores on the immediate and delayed recall tests and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) were compared for migraineurs (n = 204) vs nonmigraineurs (n = 1,244). The longitudinal association between migraine and cognitive changes was assessed by generalized estimating equations. RESULTS: Migraineurs scored lower on tests of immediate and delayed memory at baseline, but declined by less over time than nonmigraineurs. These associations were specific to migraineurs with aura, who declined by 1.26 (p < 0.01) and 1.47 (p < 0.01) words less on the immediate and delayed recall tests over the 12 years of follow-up. The effects of migraine, specifically with aura, on the MMSE were restricted to those older than 50 years. Among those younger than 50 years, migraineurs with aura declined at the same rate on the MMSE as nonmigraineurs. However, among those older than 50 years, migraineurs with aura declined by 0.99 points (p < 0.01) less over the follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Migraineurs, specifically those with aura, exhibited less decline on cognitive tests over time vs nonmigraineurs. For the Mini-Mental State Examination, these effects were only apparent among those who were older than 50 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1417-1424
Number of pages8
JournalNeurology
Volume68
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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