Low cognitive reserve is associated with chronic migraine with medication overuse and poor quality of life

Cephalalgia. 2015 Jul;35(8):683-91. doi: 10.1177/0333102414553822. Epub 2014 Oct 10.


Objective: The objective of this article is to test the hypothesis that cognitive reserve (CR) is related to migraine chronification, medication overuse and poor quality of life in migraineurs.

Design/methods: A cross-sectional study on patients with chronic migraine with medication overuse (CM-MOH), episodic migraine (EM), and controls, matched by sex, age and education, was carried out. CR was assessed by a specific questionnaire, and quality of life was measured by general and specific questionnaires (SF-36 and MSQoL). Migraine Disability Assessment Scale and Beck questionnaires for depression and anxiety were used. Medication dependence was evaluated by the medication-dependence questionnaire in headache (MDQ-H).

Results: Fifty-five individuals were enrolled: 18 CM-MOH patients (32.73%), 22 EM patients (40%) and 15 controls (27.27%). Fifty (90.91%) of them were females and aged 43.53 (7.54) years.Univariate analysis showed a significant association between the study group and CR, and all items of the SF-36, anxiety and depression questionnaires, MSQoL and MDQ-H. The lower CR and CM-MOH group were related to a worse quality of life, more anxiety and depression and the highest medication dependence scores.Multivariate analysis showed that higher CR scores were related to higher quality of life as measured by the physical and mental composite scores of the SF-36, and to lower anxiety (beta = -1.08, p = 0.001) and depression (beta = -0.56, p = 0.03) levels. Focusing on MSQoL, the increase in CR was predictive of a better quality of life (beta = 1.88, p < 0.0001). By all the models, the explained variance of the sample ranged from 39% (mental composite score) to 58% (MSQoL).

Conclusions: Low CR appears to be an independent factor associated with the deterioration of quality of life, the presence of anxiety and depression, and drug dependence and medication overuse in CM-MOH.

Keywords: Cognitive reserve; chronic migraine with medication overuse; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Reserve*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Headache Disorders, Secondary / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires