Harvard Health Letter

New thinking on migraine triggers

For some people, migraine headaches are preceded by symptoms such as flashes of light or vision disturbances. This is called migraine with aura. People who have migraines with aura are generally told to avoid possible triggers, such as bright light and physical effort. But those can be difficult to avoid, and doing so may affect a person's quality of life. Now a study published online Jan. 23, 2012, in Neurology finds that suspected triggers for migraine with aura may not be as strong as some people think. The study found only 11% of participants reported a migraine with aura after being exposed to their suspected triggers. Another 11% experienced migraines without auras after exposure to their suspected triggers. Study authors say the results suggest that a person who experiences migraines with aura can cross a trigger off the list if exposure to it for three months doesn't cause a problem.

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