ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
CANCER
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
CAREGIVING
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
Seasons Arriving 2 Days Earlier, Study Says
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Olde Time Medicine Therapy May Prevent Alcoholic Relapse
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- If you think changes in the weather bring on migraines, it might not be all in your head.

Harvard researchers report in a new study that people are more likely to visit emergency rooms with migraines if the outside temperature is above normal. Barometric pressure has an effect, too, although it is not as significant.

The findings do not definitively prove that the weather causes migraines. Nor are they "a reason to stay indoors or move to a different part of the country," said study author Dr. Kenneth J. Mukamal, an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

"But this does tell us that when we identify migraine triggers, we need to keep temperature in mind," he said. "Before, we might say it must be that ice cream that gave you a headache. Now, maybe it's the temperature that made you want to eat the ice cream."

An estimated 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, perhaps as many as 17 percent of women and 6 percent of men. The headaches can disable sufferers, forcing some to flee to quiet, darkened rooms for relief.

Treatments include painkillers, biofeedback and newer drugs that relieve swelling in the brain.

Many people report "triggers" that cause their migraines, including red wine, chocolate, menstrual cycles and lack of sleep. Others blame changes in the weather, and previous studies have suggested they're on to something.

In the new study, researchers examined the records of 7,054 emergency room patients who were treated for migraines and other types of headaches at Beth Israel Deaconess between 2000 and 2007.

The researchers tried to find links between the number of headache cases and levels of temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. They also looked at air pollution levels.

The study results appear in the March 10 issue of Neurology.

The researchers found that the number of emergency visits for headaches would rise by an average of 7.5 percent within 24 hours if the temperature rose by 9 degrees Fahrenheit above the expected temperature.

In a hypothetical example, the hospital would expect to see 7.5 percent more headache patients 24 hours after the temperature was 90 degrees instead of a typical 81 degrees.

High temperatures alone, such as those in the summer, were not as much of a trigger. The most influential factor was whether a particular day was hotter than expected.

"Warmer days were associated with higher risk, even in the winter," Mukamal said.

The researchers also found that drops in barometric pressure made headache visits more likely 48 to 72 hours later. Pollution did not seem to have an effect on headaches.

Why might the weather affect migraines? Barometric pressure could affect the layer of fluid that protects the brain inside the skull, said Dr. Richard Lipton, director of the Montefiore Headache Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. But the effect of temperature, he said, is mystifying.

"If someone knows that they're vulnerable to changes in temperature, what they might do is be particularly cautious about the things they can control," he said. "If you know the temperature is changing, that might be a good day to make sure you get your regular amount of sleep, avoid red wine, chocolate and the other triggers."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on migraines.



SOURCES: Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D., internist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; and Richard Lipton, M.D., director, Montefiore Headache Center, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; March 10, 2009, Neurology

Last Updated: March 09, 2009

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