Exploring the Potential Associations Between Migraine and Dementia: Olivia Begasse de Dhaem, MD, FAHS


The headache specialist at Hartford Healthcare Headache Center talked about her debate at AHS 2023 on why migraine is not a risk factor for dementia. [WATCH TIME: 5 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 5 minutes

"It may be that we're not picking up an association between migraine and dementia because migraine is a lower risk factor and there are other risk factors for dementia. Maybe migraine, in the sense, could be a small risk factor for dementia through the other mechanisms with which migraine is associated with vascular risk factors.”

Over the years, researchers in headache have been trying to investigate the potential connection between migraine and dementia. Although migraine has been associated with various cognitive impairments, the definitive connection to dementia remains elusive. According to recent research, findings suggest that migraine may be a potential risk factor for dementia, particularly vascular dementia, although the results are conflicting.1,2 Thus, more studies on the association between migraine and dementia are warranted as well as the exploration of potential common pathophysiological mechanisms in both conditions.

Olivia Begasse de Dhaem, MD, FAHS, participated in a debate with Richard B. Lipton, MD, director of the Montefiore Headache Center, at the 2023 American Headache Society (AHS) Annual Meeting, June 15-18, in Austin, Texas on whether migraine is a risk factor for dementia. In the debate session, she argued that migraine is not a risk factor for dementia while Lipton presented the counterpoint.3

Following the debate, Begasse De Dhaem sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® at the meeting to share points from the debate. She talked about how studies that investigated the association between migraine and dementia show conflicting results regarding cognitive impairment. She also spoke about some of the possible reasons for the difficulty in establishing a clear association between migraine and dementia. In addition, she discussed how age difference may play a role in affecting the ability to study the association between the two conditions.

Click here for more coverage of AHS 2023.

1. Jiang W, Liang GH, Li JA, Yu P, Dong M. Migraine and the risk of dementia: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2022;34(6):1237-1246. doi:10.1007/s40520-021-02065-w
2. Wang L, Wu JC, Wang FY, Chen X, Wang Y. Meta-analysis of association between migraine and risk of dementia. Acta Neurol Scand. 2022;145(1):87-93. doi:10.1111/ane.13528
3. Begasse De Dhaem O. Migraine is not a Risk Factor for Dementia. Presented at: AHS Annual Meeting, 2023; June 15-18; Austin, TX.
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