Lightning may bring on headaches, migraines

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 07:00 hrs

Washington, Jan 25 (IANS) Lightning may bring on a heightened risk of headache and migraines, says a new research by the University of Cincinnati (UC).

Vincent Martin, professor of general internal medicine and his son Geoffrey Martin, medical student, who led the study, showed that there was a 31 percent heightened risk of headache and 28 percent higher risk of migraine for chronic headache sufferers on days lighting struck within 25 miles their homes.

"Many studies show conflicting findings on how weather, including elements like barometric pressure and humidity, affect the onset of headaches," Martin Junior said.

"However, this study very clearly shows a correlation between lightning, associated meteorological factors and headaches," the journal Cephalalgia reports.

Participants who fulfilled the criteria for International Headache Society-defined migraines were recruited from sites located in Ohio and Missouri and recorded their headache activity in a daily journal for three to six months, according to a Cincinnati statement.

"We used mathematical models to determine if the lightning itself was the cause of the increased frequency of headaches or whether it could be attributed to other weather factors encountered with thunderstorms," said Martin Senior.

"Our results found a 19 percent increased risk for headaches on lightning days, even after accounting for these weather factors. This suggests that lightning has its own unique effect on headache," he said.

The negatively charged lightning currents were also particularly associated with a higher chance of headache, he added.

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