ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
CANCER
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
CAREGIVING
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Breakfast Eggs Keep Folks on Diet
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
FITNESS
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
The Unmedicated Mind
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
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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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