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Cephalalgia. 2011 Sep;31(12):1291-300. doi: 10.1177/0333102411417466. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Migraine and cognitive decline in the population-based EVA study.

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  • 1Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



Previous studies on migraine and cognition have shown mixed results. However, many could not assess the relationship between migraine and change in cognitive function or only used a limited number of cognitive tests.


Prospective cohort study among 1170 participants of the Epidemiology of Vascular Ageing Study who provided information about migraine status and completed cognitive testing. Participants were classified as having no severe headache, non-migraine headache and migraine. Cognitive functioning was measured at up to four time points using nine different cognitive functioning tests. Linear mixed effects models were used to evaluate the relationship between migraine status and change in cognitive function.


Of the 1170 participants, 938 had no severe headache, 167 had migraine, and 65 had non-migraine headache. After adjusting for age, gender, education and smoking status, people with migraine or non-migraine headache did not experience a greater rate of cognitive decline than those without headache or migraine in any domain (for the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), p-values were 0.68 for the non-migraine headache and time interaction and 0.85 for the migraine and time interaction) during 4-5 years of follow-up. For the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised, those with migraine declined less over time (p-value=0.02).


Migraine was not associated with faster cognitive decline over time.

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