ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
CAREGIVING
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Optimism May Boost Immune System
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
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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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