Are migraine and non-migrainous headache risk factors for stroke in the elderly? Findings from a 12-year cohort follow-up

Abstract : BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: There is evidence that migraine is a risk factor for stroke but little is known about this association in elderly people. Furthermore, non-migrainous headache (NMH) has received little attention despite being the most frequently reported type of headache. Late-life migraine and NMH were examined as candidate risk factors for stroke in a community-dwelling elderly sample over a 12-year follow-up. METHODS: One thousand nine hundred and nineteen non-institutionalized subjects aged 65+, without dementia (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, DSM-IV criteria) and with no stroke history at baseline, were drawn from the Three-City Montpellier cohort (recruitment 1999-2001) for longitudinal analysis. Ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke was reported at baseline and at each of the five follow-ups, with cases validated by a panel of experts, according to ICD-10 criteria (International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision). Migraine and NMH were determined at baseline during a neurological interview and examination using 1988 International Headache Society criteria. RESULTS: A total of 110 (5.4%) cases of migraine and 179 (8.9%) cases of NMH were identified at baseline. During the median 8.8-year follow-up, incident stroke was observed in 1.9% of baseline migrainers, 6.2% of NMH and 3.6% of those with no lifetime history of headache. Cox proportional hazard models indicated that migraine was not a risk factor for stroke; however, NMH sufferers were twice as likely to have a stroke (hazard ratio 2.00, 95% confidence interval 1.00-3.93, P = 0.049). CONCLUSIONS: This study is one of the first to suggest that late-life NMH rather than migraine could be an independent risk factor for stroke and a warning sign. The incidence of stroke in elderly migrainers, seldom reported, is particularly low.
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Joanna Norton, Florence Portet, Audrey Gabelle, Stephanie Debette, Karen Ritchie, et al.. Are migraine and non-migrainous headache risk factors for stroke in the elderly? Findings from a 12-year cohort follow-up. European Journal of Neurology, Wiley, 2016, 23 ((9)), pp.1463-70. ⟨10.1111/ene.13060⟩. ⟨inserm-01363090⟩

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