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Dementia is the most common neurological disease in older adults, whereas headaches, including migraines, are the most common neurological disorder across all ages. In a recent study in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry that included 679 community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older, migraines were a significant risk factor for dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

Identifying a mid-life risk factor for dementia, such as migraines, will allow for earlier detection of at-risk individuals. It may also help improve researchers' understanding of the biology of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

"We don't yet have any way to cure Alzheimer's disease, so prevention is key," said senior author Suzanne L. Tyas, Ph.D., of the University of Waterloo, in Canada. "Identifying a link to migraines provides us with a rationale to guide new strategies to prevent Alzheimer's disease."

More information: Rebecca E. Morton et al, Migraine and the risk of all‐cause dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and vascular dementia: A prospective cohort study in community‐dwelling older adults, International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (2019). DOI: 10.1002/gps.5180

Provided by Wiley