ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
CAREGIVING
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
EYE CARE, VISION
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Barefoot Best for Running?
Maximize Your Run
Football Can Shrink Players
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
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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