Midlife migraine and late-life parkinsonism: AGES-reykjavik study

Ann I. Scher*, G. Webster Ross, Sigurdur Sigurdsson, Melissa Garcia, Larus S. Gudmundsson, Sigurlaug Sveinbjörnsdóttir, Amy K. Wagner, Vilmundur Gudnason, Lenore J. Launer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that having migraine in middle age is related to late-life parkinsonism and a related disorder, restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease (WED). Methods: The AGES-Reykjavik cohort (born 1907-1935) has been followed since 1967. Headaches were classified based on symptoms assessed in middle age. From 2002 to 2006, 5,764 participants were reexamined to assess symptoms of parkinsonism, diagnosis of Parkinson disease (PD), family history of PD, and RLS/WED. Results: Subjects with midlife migraine, particularly migraine with aura (MA), were in later life more likely than others to report parkinsonian symptoms (odds ratio [OR]MA = 3.6 [95% CI 2.7-4.8]) and diagnosed PD (ORMA = 2.5 [95%CI 1.2-5.2]). Women with MA were more likely than others to have a parent (ORMA = 2.26 [95%CI 1.3-4.0]) or sibling (ORMA = 1.78 [95%CI 1.1-2.9]) with PD. Late-life RLS/WED was increased for headache generally. Associations were independent of cardiovascular disease and MRI-evident presumed ischemic lesions. Conclusions: These findings suggest there may be a common vulnerability to, or consequences of, migraine and multiple indicators of parkinsonism. Additional genetic and longitudinal observational studies are needed to identify candidate pathways that may account for the comorbid constellation of symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1246-1252
Number of pages7
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


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