• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Scientists confirm lightning links to headache

Scientists have confirmed a link between lightning and headaches and migraines.

A study found lightning striking up to 25 miles away can increase the risk of headache by 31%.

Thunderbolts also led to a 28% increased risk of migraine attacks.

US researchers looked at 90 chronic headache sufferers with an average age of 44 living in Ohio and Missouri.

All had conditions that fulfilled the criteria for migraines defined by the International Headache Society.

Participants recorded their headache experiences in a daily journal for three to six months.

During this time, scientists recorded lightning strikes within 25 miles of people's homes. The magnitude and polarity of the lightning current was also measured.

Geoffrey Martin, from the University of Cincinnati, who co-led 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."

Mr Martin, a medical student, conducted the study with his father Vincent, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati, and headache expert.

Mr Martin said: "Electromagnetic waves emitted from lightning could trigger headaches. In addition, lightning produces increases in air pollutants like ozone and can cause release of fungal spores that might lead to migraine."

Contextual targeting label: 

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.