Headache, a peer-reviewed journal published on behalf of the American Headache Society, features the most carefully done study on the influence of weather patterns on headache. The study, conducted over a two-year period by Dr. Prince and a number of headache specialists at The New England Center for Headache in Stamford, CT, concluded that 51% of patients with headache were affected by weather, although a higher percentage of patients thought they were.

Patients were not always able to accurately pinpoint their trigger. It is known that various trigger factors, like wine, chocolate, caffeine, stress and changes in sleep, can set off a migraine attack in susceptible sufferers.

The study delved into the affects of weather patterns on headache as well as investigating whether or not patients could predict their own sensitivity to weather, and which weather patterns were most significant.

The majority of headache sufferers in this study believed that certain weather patterns affected their headaches, while the weather triggers they reported did not correspond to the weather tracked in the analysis. Interestingly, of the migraine sufferers affected by weather, it was clear that they were sensitive to a combination of temperature and humidity changes.

The most common factor affecting patients was low temperature and humidity or high temperature and humidity. The second was major changes in the weather over a 1-2 day period and the third was high or low barometer. Several patients were sensitive to more than one factor.

"Identifying trigger factors, such as weather, is important as it can lead to preventive strategies such as trigger avoidance or taking acute care medications very early in the attack or even in advance," states Prince. The study findings demonstrate that there is a relationship between weather and migraine, and provides another piece of information on migraine triggers.

Based on the data, patients and their physicians can track weather patterns and personal sensitivity, which may help sufferers prevent the onset of a migraine in many situations.

About the Author

Patricia Bireneau Prince, MD, graduated from Yale School of Medicine in 2001. She is currently a senior resident in the Boston Combined Residency in pediatrics, and is about to join the faculty of the Boston University School of Medicine in Pediatrics. Dr. Prince completed this study at Yale with Dr. Alan M. Rapoport, co-founder and director of The New England Center for Headache in Stamford CT. Dr. Rapoport, a clinical professor of Neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in NY, has authored more than 200 articles, chapters and posters on headache, and has appeared on national radio and TV, such as Today and Good Morning America. For questions and interviews, please e-mail Dr. Rapoport at alanrapoport@nech.net.

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About Headache

Headache, an official publication of the American Headache Society, publishes original articles on all aspects of head and face pain including communications on clinical and basic research, diagnosis and management, epidemiology, genetics, and pathophysiology of primary and secondary headaches, cranial neuralgias, and pains referred to the head and face. Monthly issues feature case reports, short communications, review articles, letters to the editor, and news items regarding the AHS, plus medicolegal and socioeconomic aspects of head pain. For additional information on the journal, please visit http://www.blackwellpublishing.com.

About the American Headache Society

The American Headache Society (AHS) is a professional society of health care providers dedicated to the study and treatment of headache and face pain. Founded in 1959, AHS brings together physicians and other health providers from various fields and specialties to share concepts and developments about headache and related conditions. For more information, please visit www.ahsnet.org.

About Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading, independent society publisher with offices in the US, UK, Japan, Denmark, Australia, and Germany. Blackwell publishes over 700 journals in partnership with more than 550 academic and professional societies. For more information, please visit http://www.blackwellpublishing.com.

Contact: Sharon Agsalda
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.