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.
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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, PhD, 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.”
Another finding published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society said the use of hearing aids was linked with lower risks of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, and injurious falls in an analysis of medical information on 114,862 older adults with hearing loss.
The risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, anxiety/depression, and injurious falls within three years after being diagnosed with hearing loss was 18%, 11%, and 13% lower, respectively, for those who used hearing aids versus those who did not.
“Although we have shown an association between use of hearing aids and reduced risk of physical and mental decline, randomized trials are needed to determine whether, and to what extent, the relationship is causal,” the authors wrote.