Migraines are associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in middle-aged and older adults

There have been inconsistent results from previous studies about the association between Parkinson’s disease and migraines, but new data from a study presented in 2022 International Conference of the Parkinson’s Society and Movement Disordersheld September 15-18 in Madrid, Spain, indicates that among middle-aged and older adults, there is an association between migraines and the incidence of Parkinson’s disease (PD).1

Min Seok-Baik, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Neurology, Wonju Severance Christian Hospital, Yonsei University School of Medicine, and colleagues used a large data set that includes the medical records of the Republic of Korea residents to investigate the effects of migraines in incident PD. They aimed to explore the incidence and risks of Parkinson’s in patients with migraine.

There were a total of 214,193 people with migraine while 5,879,711 individuals without migraine were included in the study. A follow-up of 9.1 years (55,435,626 person-years) was performed, 1973 individuals out of 214,193 individuals (0.92%) with migraines newly diagnosed with PD, while 30,664 individuals out of 5,879 were diagnosed , 711 (0.52%) non-migraine newly diagnosed individuals with PD. After adjusting for covariates, the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease was 1.35-fold higher in individuals with migraines than in those without migraines.1

Another finding from the research is that the incidence of CP was higher in individuals with chronic migraines than in those with episodic migraines (HR, 2.36; 95% CI, 2.20–2.54).1 In comparison, men with primary dyslipidemia have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease among individuals with migraines (s = .012). Meanwhile, for women, younger age increased the risk of developing pulmonary personality disorder in individuals with migraine (s = .038).

Migraine incidence in individuals with and without migraine was analyzed retrospectively using the Korean National Health Insurance Service database. Individuals aged 40 years or older (n = 6093904) were among those enrolled in the National Health Screening Program in 2009. Individuals without migraines were defined as having no records for a migraine diagnosis from 2002. To 2008, patients with migraine were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10) code G43 in 2009.1 Individuals with ICD-10 code G20 and registration code V124 in the program for rare incurable diseases were selected for those newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

This study is supported by previous findings by Wang et al. in 2016, in which the purpose of the research was to investigate whether people with migraines were more likely to develop CP.2 In that study, individuals (n = 41,019) aged between 40 and 90 years were enrolled in the migraine group while the non-migraine group consisted of randomly sampled individuals (n = 41,019) without migraine. For follow-up, 148 people in the migraine group and 101 people in the non-migraine group developed CP. Compared with the non-migraine group, the hazard ratio of PD for the migraine group was 1.64 (95% CI, 1.25–2.14; s = .0004). The PD-free survival rate for the migraine group was also significantly lower than that for the non-migraine group (s = .0041), as both studies ultimately provided evidence in their findings that there is an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s in patients with migraine.

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the reviewer
1. Baek M, Ha W, Hong J, Han K. Migraine increases risk of Parkinson’s disease in middle-aged and older populations: a nationwide cohort study. Presented at: MDS Annual Conference; 15-18 September 2022; Madrid Spain. Summary.
2. Wang Hai, Ho YC, Hwang Yip, Pan CL. Migraine is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease: a population-based, longitudinal follow-up study, matching the propensity score. a headache. 2016; 36 (14): 1316–1323. doi: 10.1177/0333102416630577