A new study by Martin et al. set out to determine whether lightning is an as of yet unrecognized trigger of headache for those suffering from migraines. To do this the group attempted to determine whether the frequency of new onset headache is increased on days with lightning as compared with days without lightning, and also whether the effect the lightning on headache is explained by other meteorological factors or if the effect of lightning is unique. 100 participants with migraine in Cincinnati, Ohio and St. Louis, Missouri recorded the presence or absence of headache in daily diaries for a minimum of 90 days. The frequency and location of lightning activity was then obtained from a service called Vaisala, Inc, with a lightning day being one in which there was at least one lightning strike within 25 miles of the participant’s home zip code. When this data was compiled, it was found that there was a statistically significant, 3% , increase in likelihood of having a headache during days with lightning activity as compared to days without lightning. This study was the first to report that lightning plays a significant role in triggering headaches, and although other meteorological factors account for most of the increased risk of headache, lightning was found to have a unique effect on headache that was unexplained by these factors. One way or another, weather changes are a very common migraine trigger.
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