Lightning can trigger thunderous headaches: Number of migraines rises by a third during storms
The frequency of attacks rises by almost a third on days when thunder and lightning occursThis difference remained even when other weather factors were taken into accountElectromagnetic waves emitted from lightning could trigger headaches as could pollution
Daily Mail Reporter
14:56 GMT, 24 January 2013
01:11 GMT, 25 January 2013
Lightning can trigger thunderous headaches, particularly in migraine sufferers, research has suggested.
It is the first time the link has been revealed and could lead to chronic headache sufferers using weather forecasts to predict attacks.
Professor Vincent Martin, who lead the research, said: ‘Electromagnetic waves emitted from lightning could trigger headaches.
The frequency of migraine attacks rises by almost a third on days when thunder and lightning occurs, scientists have found
In addition, it produces increases in
air pollutants like ozone and can cause release of fungal spores that
might lead to migraine.’
The US research looked at volunteers
who regularly suffered migraines. They recorded daily headache activity
for between three and six months.
The location where lightning occurred in relation to their homes and the magnitude of the current was also recorded.
Headaches and migraines increased by
about 30 per cent on days lightning struck, the research, published in
online medical journal Cephalalgia found.
Professor Martin, of the University of
Cincinnati, said: ‘We used mathematical models to determine if the
lightning itself was the cause of the increased frequency or whether it
could be attributed to other weather factors encountered with
‘Our results found a 19 per cent increased risk on lightning days, even after accounting for these weather factors.
‘This suggests lightning has its own unique effect.’
His son Geoffrey, a fourth year medical student who also worked on the research, said: 'Many studies show conflicting findings on how weather, including elements like barometric pressure and humidity, affect the onset of headaches.
However, this study very clearly shows a correlation between lightning, associated meteorological factors and headaches.'
Electromagnetic waves emitted from lightning could trigger headaches
Professor Martin said that negatively charged lightning currents were also particularly associated with a higher chance of headache.
Mr Martin said: 'This study gives some insight into the tie between headaches or migraines, lightning and other meteorologic factors.
'However, the exact mechanisms through which lightning and/or its associated meteorologic factors trigger headache are unknown, although we do have speculations.
'Ultimately, the effect of weather on headache is complex, and future studies will be needed to define more precisely the role of lightning and thunderstorms on headache.'
He added: 'The weather instability indices that predict thunderstorms may be able to forecast days with an increased risk for lightning-associated headaches.'