Background The impact of headache on dementia is largely unknown. This study examined the association between headache and dementia using data from a large population-based study.
Methods This population-based study used data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Surveys performed in 1995–1997 (HUNT2) and 2006–2008 (HUNT3). The reference group (controls) was participants aged ≥55 years who answered the headache questions in HUNT2 and later participated in HUNT3 (n = 15,601). The association with headache status in HUNT2 was investigated in sample of confirmed non-demented elderly evaluated with psychometric tests after HUNT3 (n = 96), and HUNT2 participants later diagnosed with dementia during 1997–2011 (n = 746). The association with headache was evaluated by logistical regression with adjustment for age, gender, level of education, comorbidity, smoking, and anxiety and depression.
Results Any headache was more likely to be reported in HUNT2 among those who later were included in the dementia registry (OR 1.24; 95 % CI 1.04–1.49) compared to the reference group, but less likely among the confirmed non-demented individuals (OR 0.62; 95 % CI 0.39–0.98). This relationship was even stronger for non-migrainous headache, whereas such association was not found for migraine.
Conclusions Compared to the reference group, individuals with dementia were more likely to report non-previous migrainous headache in HUNT2, whereas a sample of confirmed non-demented were less likely to report previous non-migrainous headache.
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