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December 1989

Correlates of Headache in a Population-Based Cohort of Elderly

Author Affiliations

From the Channing Laboratory (Drs Cook, Evans, Scherr, Taylor, and Hennekens); and Division of Neurology (Dr Funkenstein), Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Departments of Preventive Medicine and Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass; and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Conn (Dr Ostfeld).

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(12):1338-1344. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520480082024

• Data from a community-based study of 3811 persons aged 65 years and older were used to describe the characteristics of headache in the elderly. Subjects were asked whether they experienced headache in the past year, the frequency and severity of their headaches, and whether they experienced three symptoms of migraine: unilaterality, nausea or vomiting, an aura preceding the headache. Prevalence of headache in those aged more than 65 years declined with age in both men and women; women had a higher prevalence in each age group. The same was true for frequent, severe, and migrainous headache. We examined age- and sex-adjusted correlations of headache with several medical and social factors. Prevalence of any headache was strongly associated with joint pain, depression, bereavement, waking during the night, use of eyeglasses, symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and self-assessment of health. Similar variables were associated with frequency, severity, and migrainous symptoms, and thus could not be distinguished among these various types.