ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
CANCER
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Trans Fat Labeling Gets Tricky
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
EYE CARE, VISION
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Retail Clinics Attracting Those Without Regular Doctors
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
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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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