scientists, lightning may stimulate headaches! Recently, a study published in
the journal Cephalalgia has shown
that lightning striking near a person's house can trigger headaches.
Director of the Headache Center at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas
has said that the alterations produced in the air could possibly trigger
electrical changes in the brains of migraine patients and result in severe
The exact cause of
migraine is unknown; however the scientists believe that migraine patients are
more sensitive to external stimuli such as bright lights, some food items or
hunger. Such stimuli can trigger the excruciating headaches.
Vincent Martin, a
headache specialist at the Cincinnati University observed that thunderstorms
encourage migraine headaches.
In order to find out
the effect of lightning in migraine patients, Vincent and colleagues collected
the data of 90 migraine patients.
"For each headache
sufferer, a same-day lightning strike occurred within 25 miles of his or her
ZIP code about 10 percent to 20 percent of the time."
According to Martin,
"When a thunderstorm rolls in, there could be 50,000 lightning strikes
within 25 miles [40 kilometers] of your house, you just don't realize it."
The researchers noted
that on lightning strike day, about 30 percent of patients had the probability
of being affected by migraine and 28 percent were likely to be affected by
By controlling other
important headache-causing factors such as wind, barometric pressure,
temperature, rain and humidity, the scientists noticed 13 percent jump in the
probability of having an attack.
Prof. Martin said that
there are various ways in which this can be expressed theoretically.
electromagnetic waves create a magnetic field when lightning strikes the
ground. This can alter the electrical signals in the brain. Lightning produces
more positively charged ions in the atmosphere. The concentration of ozone
irritants is also increased in the air by the electrical strikes.
"Though it may sound far-fetched, thunderstorms, via changes in the air's ionic
charge, could trigger migraines."
The researchers said
that lightning can cause thunderous headaches. The attack frequency increases
when lightning and thunder occurs. The electromagnetic waves released during
lightning can trigger headache and increase pollution.
Martin stated, 'The weather instability indices
that predict thunderstorms may be able to forecast days with an increased risk
for lightning-associated headaches.'