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Smoking more than 5 cigarettes a day provokes migraine attacks
Date:6/24/2009

Tobacco acts as a precipitating factor for headaches, specifically migraines. This is indicated in a study which shows that smokers have more migraine attacks and that smoking more than five cigarettes a day triggers this headache. The work has appeared in the Journal of Headache and Pain.

The influence of tobacco as a precipitating, non-causal factor of migraine attacks has produced contradictory data in scientific literature. The limited research prior to the work published in The Journal of Headache and Pain indicated that smoking could improve migraines by reducing anxiety, one of the factors that triggers an attack.

"This study is groundbreaking in Spain as there are few studies on this topic, and all are very biased. This is due to the complexity and need for prior training of the participants", Julio Pascual, one of the authors of this research and doctor at the Neurology Unit of Marqus de Valdecilla, University Hospital (Santander), explains to SINC.

One advantage of this study is that the sample used, 361 medicine students from the University of Salamanca, were fully aware what a migraine was. The experts, who enquired about the presence or absence of migraine (and its characteristics) and whether or not they smoked, guaranteed the reliability of the results obtained, as most surveys for this type of study are done over the phone, randomly and in people without knowledge of the illness.

The results show that 16% of students fulfilled migraine criteria, while 20% smoked. The percentage of smokers was higher (29%) in those who were also migraine sufferers and migraine frequency in those students who were migraine sufferers and smokers was clearly higher than in those who were non-smokers and migraine sufferers.

According to Pascual, "smoking is a precipitating factor of this type of headache, as the prevalence of active smokers is one third higher in migraine sufferers and there is a direct relations
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Contact: SINC
info@plataformasinc.es
34-91-425-1820
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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