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Special Tinted Glasses May Stymie Migraines
Date:5/26/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Precision-tinted glasses seem to help prevent migraines in people whose pain is triggered by certain visual patterns, new research indicates.

Up to 42 percent of people who have migraines accompanied by visual "aura," such as flashes of light, may benefit, says Jie Huang, lead author of a study appearing in the May 26 issue of the journal Cephalalgia.

Precision-tinted lenses have been used since the 1990s in Britain to help people who are "poor readers," a condition which can have symptoms similar to those of dyslexia.

Researchers have already noted that certain striped patterns can cause migraines in people with aura and even seizures in patients who have epilepsy that involves light sensitivity.

For this study, Huang and his colleagues assessed 11 people with migraines and 11 without the headaches using a functional MRI machine, which captures brain activity in real time. They wanted to see if tinted glasses normalized brain activity in the people who get the pounding headaches.

All participants were asked to look at "stressful" striped patterns (high-contrast stripes a certain distance apart) through three different pairs of glasses, one of which was precision-tinted.

The tinted glasses were individualized for each patient so they would experience the most comfort and least distortion of the pattern.

The researchers noted a normalization of brain activity in migraineurs wearing the tinted glasses while they were looking at the different patterns. The specific type of brain activity is known as hyperactivation and is present when migraines are occurring.

Participants with a history of migraines also reported less discomfort (by about 70 percent compared with 40 percent for the other lenses) when looking at the patterns through tinted glasses.

The glasses used here are "regular glasses with preci
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