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Headache Weather

October 25, 2005

Rainy days leave some people feeling blue, but can they actually cause headaches?

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
When headaches act like barometers. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Marshay Huskins from Spruce Pine, North Carolina, asked us why people seem to get headaches more often on rainy days. Migraine headache expert Warner Becker, of the University of Calgary in Canada, says he hears this a lot.

WARNER BECKER: (University of Calgary):
Any or all extremes of climate have been blamed by migraine patients to bring on headaches.

HIRSHON:
But statistically, it’s hard to blame the rain or any other weather pattern, partly because weather is so variable. Dr. Becker has found that strong, distinctive Canadian winds called Chinooks may cause migraines in some patients. As to why, some scientists believe that changes in barometric pressure – whether they signal a Chinook or just rain – may affect the brain and trigger headaches. If a science question’s giving you a headache, take two aspirin and call 1-800-Why-Isit. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.