Migraines and Dementia

By Scott LaFee

September 18, 2019 5 min read

Migraines and dementia have much in common. Headaches, including migraines, are the most common neurological disorder across all ages. Dementia is the most common neurological disease in older adults.

A new Canadian study of 679 adults (62% women) ages 65 and older reports that migraines also appear to be a significant risk factor for dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Of the total number of participants, 7.5% developed dementia over the length of the study. Those with dementia were three times more likely to have experienced migraines than those without dementia.

The observational study did not prove cause and effect but suggested migraines may be a risk factor and an early sign of dementia before symptoms actually appear.

Trouble Within

The elderly are often targeted by crooks and scammers, but a new University of Southern California study indicates the greater threat of financial elder abuse is from relatives, not strangers.

Analyzing data from the National Center on Elder Abuse, researchers said financial abuse was the most common reported form (61%), followed by emotional abuse (35%), neglect (20%), physical abuse (12%) and sexual abuse (0.3%). In one-third of reports, there was more than one type of abuse.

"We expected to find that financial abuse was the most common abuse reported," said lead author Gali Weissberger. "But despite the high rates of financial exploitation perpetrated by scammers targeting older adults, we found that family members were the most commonly alleged perpetrators of financial abuse. In fact, across all abuse types, with the exception of sexual abuse and self-neglect, abuse by a family member was the most commonly reported."

Body of Knowledge

A snoring partner wakes his or her non-snoring partner an average of 20 times per night, resulting in an average sleep loss of one hour per night, according to Ellen Michaud, author of "Sleep to Be Sexy, Smart, and Slim."

Get Me That, Stat!

Acoustic stress (caused by loud noises) can trigger an episode of long QT syndrome, a disorder of the heart's electrical system. LQTS is estimated to cause as many as 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

Stories for the Waiting Room

People who suffer from insomnia may have an increased risk of coronary artery disease, according to published results of a study that looked at more than 1 million participants.

Researchers found genetic variants for insomnia were associated with significantly higher odds of coronary artery disease, heart failure and ischemic stroke — particularly large artery stroke, but not atrial fibrillation.

Phobia of the Week

Genuphobia: Fear of knees or the act of kneeling

Hypochondriac's Guide

Marie Antoinette syndrome is a condition in which one's hair suddenly turns white, purportedly due to extreme stress. It's named after the French queen whose hair turned white after her capture during the French Revolution. White hair, of course, was better than what happened next to Antoinette, who was beheaded by guillotine on Oct. 16, 1793. She was 38.

Observation

"Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic." — Hungarian American psychiatrist and writer Thomas Szasz (1920-2012)

Medical History

This week in 1953 at the Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans, Carolyn and Catherine Mouton became the first conjoined twins to be successfully separated by surgery. They were connected at the waist when they were born in July 1953. Conjoined twins develop from a single fertilized ovum that has divided imperfectly.

Self-Exam

Q: What is the most abundant metal in the human body?

a) nickel

b) iron

c) copper

d) tin

A: b) iron, which is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to throughout the body. If you don't have enough iron, your body can't make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

Curtain Calls

Jean-Baptiste Lully was a 17th-century French composer who died of a gangrenous abscess after accidentally piercing his foot with a staff while vigorously conducting the Te Deum, a Latin Christian hymn. It was customary at that time to conduct by banging a staff on the floor. After his injury, Lully refused to have his worsening leg amputated so he could continue to dance until, of course, he couldn't.

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: geralt at Pixabay

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