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Lightning & Migraine

February 5, 2013

Migraine headaches are associated with lightning storms.



A news flash about migraines.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Lightning storms may trigger migraines.  This according to a new report from researchers at the University of Cincinnati.  Fourth-year medical student Geoffrey Martin and his colleagues asked migraine sufferers to keep a diary of headaches and other migraine symptoms for 3 to 6 months.

GEOFFREY MARTIN (University of Cincinnati):

And so what we found was that on days in which there was at least one lightning strike within 25 miles of a patient’s home zip code, there was a 25-30% increase in headache and in migraines.

Even when they controlled for air pressure, humidity, precipitation, and other weather factors, there was still a significant effect for lightning.  Martin notes that lightning strikes create both electromagnetic radiation and pollutants like ozone, either of which could potentially trigger headaches.  If the findings hold up, patients may be advised to take preventive measures whenever a storm’s expected.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

Lightning may trigger migraine headaches. (Jupiter Images)