Today in Medicine: Your headache might be caused by lightning

Researchers say the weather might be behind your migraine.

Topic of Study: Timing of food intake and weight regulation

Study subjects: 420 overweight adults
Location of study: U.S./Spain
Results: A weight-loss study published in the International Journal of Obesity found late eaters had a slower weight-loss rate and lost significantly less weight than early eaters. Researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts University collaborated with the University of Murcia for the study, which monitored two groups: eaters who ate lunch anytime before 3 p.m. and late-eaters, who ate lunch after 3 p.m. The late eaters lost less weight and consumed fewer calories during breakfast or ate no breakfast. The study took into consideration total calorie intake and expenditure, the level of appetite hormones and sleep duration.
Significance: Timing your meals around the clock could further aid your weight-loss efforts.

Topic of Study: Weekdays vs. weekends at the ER

Study subjects: Various data
Location of study: Scotland
Results: New research published online in the Emergency Medicine Journal found that patients admitted to Acute Medical Units on public holidays and weekends are significantly more likely to die than those admitted on other days of the week. While some figures put weekend mortality at a potential 10 percent higher, researchers concluded that patients admitted as medical emergencies on public holidays increased their risk of mortality within seven days by 48 percent and were 27 percent more likely to die within 30 days.
Significance: Because differences in senior doctor staffing in AMUs remained the same on holidays, weekdays and weekends, supervision is unlikely to be the explanation and further research is needed.

Topic of Study: The magical age to quit smoking by

Study subjects: 200,000 Americans
Location of study: Canada
Results: A study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who quit smoking by middle age don’t die significantly earlier than people who have never smoked. On average, quitting before turning 44 lessened life expectancy by just one year, and quitting by age 54 nixed only four years.
Significance: The figures do not lessen the ill effects of smoking; instead, they reveal the remarkable powers of healing and regeneration that the lungs possess before diseases such as cancer set in. But don’t take this as encouragement to smoke: “Former smokers still have a greater risk of dying sooner than people who never smoked,” study author Dr. Prabhat Jha of the University of Toronto says.

Topic of Study: Lightning and headaches

Study subjects: People with migraines
Location of study: U.S.
Results: A report published in the journal Cephalalgia found that when lightning struck within 25 miles of a chronic headache sufferer’s home, the person was 31 percent more likely to get a headache and 28 percent more likely to get a migraine.The University of Cincinnati researchers also found new-onset cases of headaches and migraines increased by about a quarter.
Significance: Weather elements such as barometric pressure and humidity are suspected to trigger headaches.


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