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Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2015 May;15(5):652-8. doi: 10.1111/ggi.12314. Epub 2014 Sep 26.

Gender differences in older adults with chronic migraine in Turkey.

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Department of Neurology, Mersin University School of Medicine, Mersin, Turkey.



Chronic migraine is a growing and disabling subtype of migraine with different risk factors and clinical features, even in older adults. We sought to define and differentiate clinical features of chronic migraine in older adults. We also aimed to compare major clinical features of chronic migraine in older adults with those in younger people of both sexes.


We used electronic dataset (Turkish Headache Database) from 13 tertiary headache centers in Turkey. Electronic dataset included detailed headache-defining features according to ICHD-II criteria based on face-to-face interviews and examination by a headache specialist. Using statistical methods, clinical variables of chronic migraine in older adults were compared with those of younger adults. We included 915 patients with chronic migraine (mean age 43.80 ± 13.95 years); 83.3% were females. In total, 301 patients (32.9%) with chronic migraine aged >50 years were compared with 614 patients aged <50 years.


There was no significant change in men with increasing age. However, duration of headache history, severity of attacks, previous histories of motion sickness and positive family history of headaches were significantly different in women with increasing age. Further sex-related differences have been shown in parameters such as attack duration, quality and associated nausea.


Chronic migraine is an infrequent type of migraine and shows age-related changes in some phenotypic characteristics, such as severity of attacks, especially in women aged older than 50 years. Furthermore, positive family history of headaches and history of motion sickness increase the likelihood of developing chronic migraine in older women, indicating involvement of some gender-related, but as-yet unknown, genetic factors.


chronic migraine; elderly; gender; headache; phenotype; women

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