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Lightning may cause headaches

A new study has found that lightning might affect the onset of headache and migraines.  These results are the first tying lightning to headache and could help chronic sufferers more efficiently anticipate headache and migraine arrival and begin preventive treatment immediately.

Geoffrey Martin, fourth-year medical student at the University of Cincinnati (UC), and his father Vincent Martin, MD, professor in the division of general internal medicine, UC Health physician and headache expert, led the study which showed that there was a 31 percent increased risk of headache and 28 percent increased risk of migraine for chronic headache sufferers on days lighting struck within 25 miles of study participant's homes.

In addition, new-onset headache and migraine increased by 24 per cent and 23 per cent in participants. "Many studies show conflicting findings on how weather, including elements like barometric pressure and humidity, affect the onset of headaches,"
Geoffrey Martin says. "However, this study very clearly shows a correlation between lightning, associated meteorological factors and headaches."  Participants who fulfilled the criteria for International Headache Society-defined migraines were recruited from sites located in Ohio and Missouri and recorded their headache activity in a daily journal for three to six months.

During this time, the location where lightning struck within 25 miles of participant's homes as well as the magnitude and polarity of lightning current was recorded.

"We used mathematical models to determine if the lightning itself was the cause of the increased frequency of headaches or whether it could be attributed to other weather factors encountered with thunderstorms," says Vincent Martin. "Our results found a 19 percent increased risk for headaches on lightning days, even after accounting for these weather factors. This suggests that lightning has its own unique effect on headache."

He says that negatively charged lightning currents were also particularly associated with a higher chance of headache.

"There are a number of ways in which lightning might trigger headaches," he says. "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."

Snoring may be early sign of future health risks

Snoring may put you at a greater risk than those who are overweight, smoke or have high cholesterol to have thickening or abnormalities in the carotid artery, researchers say.

The increased thickening in the lining of the two large blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygenated blood is a precursor to atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries responsible for many vascular diseases. “Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn’t be ignored.

Patients need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnea, high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” lead study author Robert Deeb from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit said. “Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that isolated snoring may not be as benign as first suspected.

So instead of kicking your snoring bed partner out of the room or spending sleepless nights elbowing him or her, seek out medical treatment for the snorer,” he said.

The study reveals changes in the carotid artery with snorers – even for those without sleep apnea – likely due to the trauma and subsequent inflammation caused by the vibrations of snoring.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – a sleep disorder that occurs due to the collapse of the airway in the throat during sleep and causes loud snoring and periodic pauses in breathing – has long been linked to cardiovascular disease, along with a host of other serious health issues.

But the risk for cardiovascular disease may actually begin with snoring, long before it becomes OSA. Until now, there was little evidence in humans to show a similar connection between snoring and cardiovascular risk.

For the Henry Ford study, Dr. Deeb and senior study author Kathleen Yaremchuk, M.D., reviewed data for 913 patients who had been evaluated by the institution’s sleep centre.

Compared to non-snorers, snorers were found to have a significantly greater intima-media thickness of the carotid arteries, the study finds.
The study also revealed no statistically significant differences in intima-media thickness for patients with or without some of the traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease – smoking, diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia.

Soy and dairy proteins promote muscle synthesis

Researchers have demonstrated the benefits of consuming a protein blend for muscle protein synthesis after exercise.  This study is a first-of-its-kind, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and utilises the proteins from soy, whey and casein consumed after an acute bout of resistance exercise.

These proteins have complementary amino acid profiles and different digestion rates (amino acid release profiles). The results demonstrate prolonged delivery of amino acids to muscles and extended muscle protein synthesis when subjects consumed the blend, compared to a single source of protein alone.

“Sources of high-quality protein contain all the essential amino acids and have individual characteristics thought to offer a unique advantage for muscle growth,” Blake Rasmussen, principal investigator of the study, said.

“This is the first study to test the effects of combining soy with the dairy proteins, whey and casein, for promotion of lean body mass gain,” Rasmussen said. The composition of the blend used in the current study was based on results from a recently published pre-clinical study that demonstrated enhanced postprandial skeletal muscle protein synthesis in rats compared to another blend of soy or whey protein sources alone.

This human clinical study for the first time shows that a soy-dairy protein blend is capable of stimulating muscle growth to a similar extent as whey protein through an elevation in muscle protein synthesis and muscle cell growth signalling.

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