Migraines linked to bacteria in mouth

Business Woman Stress And Headache

People who suffer from migraines have more of certain bacteria in their mouths

People who suffer from migraines have long complained that certain foods trigger the severe headaches. New research suggests the culprit might be the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

Researchers found that the mouths of people who suffer from migraines harboured significantly more of the microbes that break down nitrates found in certain foods.

These bacteria play an important role in processing nitrates so they can then be converted into nitric oxide in the bloodstream, which widens blood vessels and improves circulation.

While this process is helpful for cardiovascular health, the findings suggest an abundance of these bacteria may break down nitrates more quickly, causing blood vessels in the brain and scalp to dilate, triggering migraines.

Nitrates are naturally found in a variety of leafy green vegetables, and they are added to processed meat as a preservative and to improve flavour and colour.

Doctors have been telling people who suffer from migraines to avoid processed foods for years. Dr. Michael Zitney, who leads the Headache & Pain Relief Centre in Toronto, says this research strengthens their case.

“We have long since known that these kinds of foods can trigger migraines, but we haven’t really known how,” he says.

Link to cardiovascular research

The process of how nitrates break down into nitric oxide is well-studied in cardiovascular health.

Nitrate-containing drugs are prescribed to treat chest pain or congestive heart failure. But roughly four out of five cardiac patients who take the drugs report severe headaches as a side-effect.

The study’s authors hope these findings will help link existing cardiovascular research with migraines.

“It opens a full area of research and connects two areas of research that have not been connected before,” says the study’s lead author, Antonio Gonzalez, from the University of California San Diego.

Data collected from ‘citizen scientists’

This study was based on data from the American Gut Project, which crowd sources oral and fecal samples from so-called “citizen scientists.”

Researchers sequenced bacteria found in 172 oral samples and 1,996 fecal samples. They found that the nitrate-reducing microbes were slightly more abundant in the fecal samples of people who suffer from migraines, but significantly more abundant in their oral samples.

Chronic migraines are frequent, severe, pulsating headaches accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. They last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

It’s estimated that eight per cent of Canadians have been diagnosed with migraines, although this likely underestimates their prevalence, as some people who suffer from migraines don’t seek professional help.

The study’s authors say they still need to determine whether the bacteria are a cause or a result of migraines, or are indirectly linked in some other way.

For now, Zitney says, the research suggests that some migraines could one day be treated by controlling the bacteria in our mouths.

“This may be just a glimmer of hope in terms of pursuing possible treatments,” he says.

The study was published earlier this week in mSystems, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/bacteria-migraines-1.3811940

Student doctor numbers to rise by 25%


The number of medical school places will increase by 25% from 2018 under plans to make England “self-sufficient” in training doctors.

The government’s plan will see an expansion in training places from 6,000 to 7,500 a year.

Ministers believe increasing the number of home-grown doctors will be essential given the ageing population.

There is also concern it will become more difficult to recruit doctors trained abroad in the future.

About a quarter of the medical workforce is trained outside the UK, but the impact of Brexit and a global shortage of doctors could make it harder to recruit so many in the future.

Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC: “We want to see the NHS able to recruit doctors from this country. We want to see more British doctors in the NHS.”

The increase also comes after the government has spent a year at loggerheads with junior doctors over the pressures being placed on them to fill rota gaps.

Doctor workforce in numbers


doctors working in NHS

25% are foreign

9% due to retire in next five years

2% more needed each year to keep up with demand

7-10% of posts are vacant

Dr Daniel Bunce, 27, is in his third year of being a junior doctor after completing his medical degree. He is now working in a hospital in the south west in intensive care.

He says he got into medicine because he wanted to “care for people and make a difference”.

“It’s been difficult. There is so much pressure, particularly during winter. We just don’t have the time to spend with patients that we need to provide the care we want to because we are rushing around just trying to keep up.

“I’m now working in intensive care so the staff to patient ratios is much better than it was when I was on medical wards. But the workload is making people I work with think about whether this is something they want to do for the rest of their career.

“The increase in medical school places is a good move, but we will have to see what impact it has in hospitals in the long-term.”

Medical degrees take five years to complete, so it will be 2024 before the impact of these extra places is felt.

But Mr Hunt told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Tuesday: “We need to prepare the NHS for the future, which means doing something we have never done properly before – training enough doctors.

“Currently a quarter of our doctors come from overseas. They do a fantastic job and we have been clear that we want EU nationals who are already here to stay post-Brexit.

“But is it right to import doctors from poorer countries that need them while turning away bright home graduates desperate to study medicine?”

Mr Hunt said the steps would mean that by the end of the next Parliament the health service in England would be “self-sufficient” when it comes to training doctors.

Analysis: Will this work?

There is widespread agreement that the NHS is facing a crisis when it comes to doctor shortages. It is one of the underlying reasons why the dispute between the government and junior doctors has been so bitter.

So news that the number of training places is to increase by 25% is certainly being welcomed by many. But whether it is enough is another matter.

The health service employs more than 150,000 doctors – a quarter more than it did a decade ago. But even that has not been sufficient – vacancy rates are said to be running at close to 10%.

This is despite huge numbers being recruited from abroad. In fact, the numbers registering to work in the NHS from outside the UK has been outstripping those graduating from medical school in recent years.

The future, of course, is fraught with difficulties. The impact of Brexit on EU doctors is uncertain, there are large numbers due to retire – a figure of 13,500 in the next five years has been suggested – and then there is the not insignificant numbers who leave the NHS for other countries or opportunities.

More doctors in training doesn’t necessarily translate to more doctors in the NHS.

The rise in training places will cost £100m from 2018 to 2020, but in the long-term the government hopes to recoup money by charging foreign students more than it does now.

Medical students will also be expected to work for the NHS for at least four years – or face penalties that could include them having to repay the cost of their training, which currently stands at £220,000 to the taxpayer over the five-year degree.

The details of how this will work have yet to be ironed out and, in particular how it will apply to doctors moving to another part of the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This announcement applies to England only.

At this stage it is thought unlikely that ministers would want to apply the four-year restriction to doctors wanting to move to other UK nations.

Doctor hands

British Medical Association leader Dr Mark Porter said the announcement “falls far short of what is needed”.

“The government’s poor workforce planning has meant that the health service is currently facing huge and predictable staff shortages,” he said.

“We desperately need more doctors, particularly with the government plans for further seven-day services, but it will take a decade for extra places at medical school to produce more doctors.

“This initiative will not stop the NHS from needing to recruit overseas staff.”

  • Each year 6,000 medical students currently graduate after five years of study
  • There are a similar new junior doctors places open for them (although some students take gap years)
  • By the third year of junior doctor training they need to choose a specialism, such as general practice or a hospital speciality like surgery
  • That is where the shortages start to emerge
  • Latest figures from Health Education England show one in 10 places remain unfilled
  • The biggest gaps are seen in psychiatry (19%), GPs (17%) and paediatrics (7%)

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, said: “For decades, the NHS has failed to train enough of its own staff, so increasing the number of UK-trained medical staff is long overdue.

“However, if this new announcement involves simply replacing overseas doctors with UK-trained ones, that won’t increase the total number working in the NHS, and certainly won’t solve the agency staff crisis that is affecting the NHS right now.”

Chief Executive of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust Susan Acott told the BBC there were shortages in specialisms including Accident and Emergency, radiology and intensive care in her hospitals.

“An expansion of medical training is very desirable,” she said. “We’re a very under-doctored country compared to European levels.”

The idea that doctors could be retained in the UK once they had trained was an “interesting” idea, she added, but there were practical obstacles.

“Doctors go abroad to develop their training and experience different health systems and techniques,” Ms Acott said.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37546360

Allergic passengers beware: Nuts on a plane


Preparing for air travel can be highly challenging for nut-allergic passengers, a Short Report published in the Medical Journal of Australia has found.

Over 90 million passengers are carried on Australian flights each year, with 1-2% reporting they have documented food allergies. Dr Mark Hew and colleagues from the Alfred Hospital conducted a survey of all domestic and international airlines that fly from Tullamarine to assess their nut allergy policies.

The researchers found that 61% of airlines had online or telephone hotline information about nut allergy policies. Only a minority of airlines were able to provide nut-free meals. “Nine airlines (27%) offered nut- free meals, two routinely and seven on request. For the other airlines, nut-allergic passengers would need to fast (only practical on short domestic routes) or bring their own food,” the authors wrote.

A third of the airlines could restrict the distribution of packaged nuts on flights if required.

Only one airline operating from Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport confirmed that emergency adrenaline was available on all flights.

For nut allergic individuals, the authors recommended that they contact their airline before travelling, develop an allergy plan with their doctor, carry their own emergency adrenaline, and consider bringing their own food. “Airlines should make their nut allergy policies more accessible and consider carrying emergency adrenaline on all flights,” the authors concluded.

Article: Airline policies for passengers with nut allergies flying from Melbourne Airport, Stephanie Stojanovic, Celia Mary Zubrinich, Robyn O’Hehir and Mark Hew, Medical Journal of Australia, doi: 10.5694/mja16.00384, published 20 September 2016

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/312988.php

Are infant cereals really the best first food for babies?


Rice cereal with a bit of breast milk, infant formula or water has been the first food many parents feed their babies. It’s cheap, easy to mix with other foods and portable. It’s also easy for babies to digest and unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. “Babies have been eating grains for decades and they are well tolerated, which is one of the reasons why they are a good first food,” said Karen Ansel, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Syosset, New York, and co-author of “The Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start.”

Rice cereal has also been touted as a healthy first food because it gives babies the nutrients they need, particularly iron and zinc. At around 6 months of age, breast milk iron stores naturally decrease. Plus, when both breastfed and formula-fed infants start solids, they get less of these nutrients and need to replace them with solids, which support their rapid growth, said Sara Peternell, a master nutrition therapist in Denver, Colorado and co-author of “Little Foodie: Baby Food Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste.”

In recent years however, rice cereal has become less popular.

“What we’re realizing is that grains really don’t need to be a first choice,” said Dr. Anthony F. Porto, a board-certified pediatric gastroenterologist and assistant professor of pediatrics and associate clinical chief at Yale University.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that there’s no medical evidence that starting solids in any particular order has any advantages.

“This idea of giving them ‘smooshy,’ bland, wallpaper-tasting rice cereal because we believe it’s either easier on their taste buds or easier on their digestive system is becoming a very outdated first-foods-for-babies recommendation,” Peternell said.

In fact, studies show babies’ food preferences actually start in utero. Babies whose mothers drank carrot juice during pregnancy and while breastfeeding had fewer negative expressions when they started to eat carrots than infants who had not been exposed to the flavor, a study in the journal Pediatrics found.

Amylase, Arsenic and Allergies

“We’re learning that grains may have somewhat of a detrimental effect,” Peternell said, adding that amalyse, the enzyme which allows babies to digest and break down complex grains isn’t present in their salivary glands until their molars come in.

“Babies have very immature digestive systems, so to speak, so when we introduce something that’s more of a refined grain, that takes a lot more energy from the digestive system to try to break it down and also to extract the nutrients,” she said.

Often times when babies start both gluten and non-gluten varieties of grains, they can experience stomach pain, become constipated and have changes in their stool patterns.

“They may even potentially develop some food intolerances because their gut is just not prepared yet for some of the protein components in that particular food,” she said.

More on this…

Is rice cereal the best food for baby?

‘World’s smallest baby’ thriving after premature birth

Comparison of commercial and homemade infant meals finds flaws in each

Another concern about feeding babies rice in particular is the high levels of arsenic that it contains. In April, the FDA proposed a limit of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic infant rice cereal.

Although wheat shouldn’t be offered as a first food, it shouldn’t be avoided either and offered only after your baby can tolerate other foods.

“What we’re finding actually is that if you are strictly avoiding those foods, you may actually be encouraging your child to develop allergies because their bodies are not coming in contact with these allergens and when they finally do, they really don’t know how to handle them,” Ansel said.

Variety is the spice of life

Although babies do not need grains, they do need to eat complex carbohydrates, Peternell said, adding that butternut squash, zucchini and sweet potatoes are all excellent choices.

If you’re concerned about arsenic in rice, you don’t need to avoid rice altogether.

“What you wouldn’t want to do is rice cereal three times a day, every day,” Ansel said.

If you choose to feed your baby grains, choose a variety such as oats, multigrain cereal, barley, quinoa and millet.

Traditionally, first foods around the world have been meat, which have the same level of fortification of iron and zinc as fortified cereals, Porto, who is also the author of “The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers,” said.

In fact, breastfed infants who were fed pureed meat had higher levels of iron and zinc than those who were fed an iron-fortified infant cereal, according to a study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

If you’re raising your baby as a vegetarian, egg yolks are also a good option. Although legumes are iron-rich, they’re not a complete protein unless they’re combined with grains and they should be offered occasionally and when your baby is older, Peternell said.

If you decide to offer grains and you find it makes your baby constipated, foods such as prunes, plums, pears, peaches and apricots can help combat it.

Also, keep in mind that no matter what types of foods you introduce, you should start to offer a new first food every three to five days.

“The most important thing is you want to give your baby a wide variety of solids,” Ansel said.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/09/11/are-infant-cereals-really-best-first-food-for-babies.html


No more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day for kids


While food accounts for a large portion of the added sugar in our diet, many experts recommend cutting back on sugary beverages to reduce daily intake. Consumption of sugary drinks might lead to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide, according to research published in the journal Circulation, an update of a 2013 American Heart Association conference presentation. In the following slides, we compare the amount of sugar found in some of America’s top-selling beverages — according to Beverage Industry magazine’s 2013 State of the Industry Report — to the sugar found in common sugary snacks.

Children 2 to 18 should consume no more than about six teaspoons of added sugars in their daily diets, according to new recommendations from the American Heart Association.

Researchers called limiting a child’s added sugar consumption to six teaspoons — equivalent to about 100 calories or 25 grams — “an important public health target” in a paper published in the journal Circulation on Monday. The paper outlines the new recommendations.

“A diet high in added sugars is strongly associated with weight gain, obesity, insulin resistance, abnormal cholesterol and fatty liver disease in children and all of these increase future cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Miriam Vos, an associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and lead author of the paper.

“I hope that this statement helps parents and organizations that help care for children by providing an achievable goal,” she said. “How much sugar is OK for kids has been a confusing issue for parents, and this statement provides a target that parents can understand, and that will make a huge difference for the health of children.”

The researchers reviewed and analyzed more than 100 previous papers and studies on the cardiovascular health effects of added sugars on children published through November.

They also analyzed dietary data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on how much added sugar was consumed in the United States from 2009 to 2012.

he researchers concluded that children are currently consuming more than the newly recommended 25-grams-or-less of added sugars daily, on average.

The latest national dietary guidelines released by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends limiting sweets so that added sugar makes up 10% or less of your daily calories.

That amount is “closely aligned with the new recommendations,” Vos said. “The AHA statement provides a fixed amount, 25 grams, that is less than 10% of calories for most children and is easier for parents to understand.”

Understanding added sugar

What counts as added sugars? Any table sugar, fructose or honey used as an ingredient in processing and preparing foods or beverages, eaten separately or added to a meal at the dining table. Some foods that contain added sugars are soft drinks, candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream and pies.

“A plain whole grain bagel with cream cheese can have no added sugar, while a frosted doughnut has 23 grams of added sugar,” Vos said. “A bowl of cereal can range from 1 gram to 12 or more grams, depending on the brand. One soda typically has 33 grams. A healthy breakfast of a low added-sugar, whole-grain cereal with a piece of fruit and a glass of low-fat milk would have about 1 gram of added sugar [but] varies by the cereal.”

If the six-teaspoon recommendation becomes difficult to follow, that’s because many processed foods in the supermarket are engineered to be high-sugar and low-fiber, said Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the new paper.

“We now have the data to show that sugar is different from starch, unrelated to its calories, and is causative for four diseases: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease and tooth decay,” he said. “It’s like alcohol but for kids. … It activates the brain’s reward center to make you consume more.”

The new paper not only provides a comprehensive review of the current data, it reveals “profound” and “deeply disturbing” links between the amount of added sugars American children consume and their risk of heart diseases, said Dr. Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University, who was not involved in the paper.

“I am very concerned, as a parent, that my child shouldn’t be consuming as much added sugar as I did as a child,” he said, “and this AHA statement goes a long way toward helping parents like me understand the implications of what I give to my child to eat.”

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/23/health/sugar-kids-recommendations/index.html

Ivory Coast re-opens western borders closed during Ebola epidemic

Ebola Virus

Ivory Coast has re-opened its western borders with Liberia and Guinea two years after they were closed to prevent the spread of an Ebola epidemic that killed thousands across West Africa, an Ivorian government spokesman said on Friday.

Around 29,000 people contracted the hemorrhagic fever during the more than two-year long outbreak, the worst on record. Over 11,000 died before it finally ended in June, nearly all of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“We had to take these measures to protect our country. And the fact we didn’t have a single case must be considered a real success,” Bruno Kone said, referring to the border closure measure.

Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa’s largest economy, shut its borders in August 2014.

It came under criticism at the time from some health organizations that argued the closure risked aggravating the epidemic and would worsen hardship in countries already struggling with the economic fallout from Ebola.

Several other regional nations, including Mali and Senegal, also shut their borders temporarily as a precaution.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/09/09/ivory-coast-re-opens-western-borders-closed-during-ebola-epidemic.html

Coffee Cravings May Spring From Your DNA


Genes appear to influence how much caffeine you need

Anybody up for a steaming cup of Joe? Turns out your DNA may hold the answer.

New research suggests that your genes influence how much coffee you drink.

Researchers analyzed genetic data from more than 1,200 people in Italy, who were asked how much coffee they drank each day.

Those with a gene variant called PDSS2 drank one cup less a day on average than those without the variation, the investigators found.

Research involving more than 1,700 people in the Netherlands yielded similar findings, according to the study authors.

The findings suggest that PDSS2 reduces cells’ ability to break down caffeine. That means it stays in the body longer.

The upshot: People with the gene variant don’t need as much coffee to get the same caffeine hit as those without it, the researchers said.

“The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes,” said study author Nicola Pirastu. He is a chancellor’s fellow at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

“We need to do larger studies to confirm the discovery and also to clarify the biological link between PDSS2 and coffee consumption,” Pirastu added in a university news release.

By Robert Preidt

Source: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_160628.html

Sodas Linked to Gallbladder Cancer


People who drink lots of soda or other sugary beverages may have a higher risk of developing rare cancers in the gallbladder and bile ducts around the liver, a Swedish study suggests.

Little is known about the causes of biliary tract and gallbladder tumors, but emerging evidence suggests obesity as well as elevated blood sugar levels that are a hallmark of diabetes may increase the risk of these malignancies.

Because sodas and other sugary drinks have been linked to high blood sugar and weight gain, researchers wondered if these beverages might play a role in these types of cancer, said lead study author Susanna Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

To explore this possibility, researchers analyzed survey data on the eating and drinking habits of more than 70,000 adults then followed them for more than 13 years on average to see whether cancers got diagnosed.

Only about 150 people developed biliary tract or gallbladder cancers during the study period.

But compared with people who avoided sugar-sweetened drinks altogether, individuals who consumed two or more juice drinks or sodas, including artificially sweetened sodas, a day had more than twice the risk of developing gallbladder tumors and 79 percent higher odds of getting biliary tract cancer, the study found.

“Soda consumption has been inconsistently associated with risk of biliary tract cancer (only one prior study) and other cancers in previous similar studies,” Larsson said by email.

The current study “is the first study to show a strong link between consumption of sweetened beverages, such as soda, and risk of biliary tract cancer,” Larsson added.

At the start of the study, participants completed food and drink questionnaires that asked how many sodas or juice drinks they had consumed in the past week and how much they typically consumed during the previous year.

When they answered these questions in 1997, participants were 61 years old on average. About half of them were overweight and roughly 25 percent were current smokers.

Researchers excluded people with a previous cancer diagnosis or a history of diabetes.

The people who drank two or more sodas or sugary beverages a day were more likely to be overweight and eat a higher-calorie diet with more sugar and carbohydrates and less protein and fat.

The increased risk of gallbladder and biliary tract tumors persisted, however, even after researchers adjusted for whether participants were overweight.

Because the study is observational, the findings don’t prove soda and sugary drinks cause cancer.

It’s also possible that because researchers only had data on drinking habits at the start of the study, the findings might have been influenced by changes over time in the beverages people consumed, the authors note in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers also lacked precise data to assess how often the drinks people chose were diet sodas, said Dr. Margo Denke, a former researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas who wasn’t involved in the study.

Even so, “this study suggests that there is more than a plausible link; the incidence of biliary and gall bladder cancer was higher among individuals who consumed more sodas and juices,” Denke said by email.

The exact reasons for the connection between sodas and these tumors may be unclear, but the message for consumers is still simple, said Dr. Igor Astsaturov, a medical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Obviously, this finding signals again and again that healthy lifestyle is the key to cancer-free life,” Astsaturov said by email. “Regardless of the cause, it is easy enough to quench the thirst with water to stay fit and healthy.”

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/sodas-linked-gallbladder-cancer-n608716

All in your head


Exercise-related headaches are common. Know when to seek medical help

Bengaluru-based marketing professional Vyom Bachani, 38, gets a headache after any vigorous exercise—running, skipping or elliptical training—coupled with a surge in body heat. Sometimes a cool-down keeps it at bay, sometimes it does not. He never has headaches otherwise.

Exercise headaches typically occur during or after strenuous workouts. The blood-starved muscles of the head, neck and scalp require more blood for circulation during any kind of physical exertion, including exercise. This results in the expansion of blood vessels, causing an exertional headache.

Doctors categorise exercise headaches into primary and secondary. While primary headaches are usually harmless, secondary headaches can be life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention.

Primary exertion headache or PEH: The majority of headaches are primary, often seen in people in the 20-40 years age group. Migraine and tension headaches are the common types. An exercise headache is a type of primary headache, usually linked to vigorous training in the heat, high altitude or humidity. “Primary exertion headache (PEH) is more common among men than women and is caused by exercises,” says Chennai-based Dr Dobson Dominic, medical director, s10 Health Sports Lounge. “The pain usually comes on suddenly, could be unilateral or bilateral and is often pulsatile and lasts from 10 minutes to 48 hours. Nausea, vomiting, phonophobia [sensitivity to sound], or photophobia [sensitivity to light] are a few symptoms that could also appear with a headache,” says Dobson, who is also sports medicine consultant, Chettinad Academy of Research and Institute and program chairman, MMSC sports and exercise medicine, Texila American University. “An exercise headache is common in people who have a history of migraine or who do strenuous workouts,” says Dr P.R. Krishnan, consultant neurologist, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru.

Secondary headache: A headache is secondary when an underlying condition causes the pain. While some secondary headaches such as cervicogenic headache are not harmful, a few are serious in nature. “There can be different types of secondary headaches depending on the cause,” says Dr G.P. Dureja, director, Delhi Pain Management Centre. “Secondary headaches are not common, but if they occur, they need urgent medical attention. When there are frequent headaches that disturb the daily routine or when it causes problems in hearing or vision, it indicates secondary headache,” says Dr G.N. Goyal, interventional spine and pain management specialist, Delhi.

Not just exercise

Various triggers are perceived to cause headaches. “Exercise could dilate the arteries or veins, which are pain sensitive. It is prevalent in people with internal jugular vein valve incompetence (IJVVI). IJVVI results in backward venous [blood] flow, which leads to brain congestion and increases pressure within the skull leading to a headache,” says Krishnan. “PEH occurs due to muscle constriction because of increased blood supply to the affected muscles. This causes muscle spasm resulting in headaches,” says Dureja.

Several factors could trigger a primary headache. “PEH is more likely to occur due to high altitude, change in weather, or if there is an intake of alcohol or caffeine before exercise. Dehydration, increased blood pressure, holding of breath while lifting heavy weight or incorrect neck position may cause an exertional headache,” says Dobson. Goyal says unhealthy diet, stress, and lifestyle that does not balance work and rest are some of the triggers.

Secondary headaches are serious. The underlying cause could be medical problems such as infections, blockages, bleeding and abnormalities. “Secondary headaches can occur due to intracranial bleeding, rupture of blood vessels in the brain. Here, the headache is accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Secondary headaches do not respond to conventional medicines,” says Dureja.

“Bleeding because of trauma or a medical condition like hypertension, or structural changes in the brain that are prone to rupture of the blood vessels can lead to secondary headache,” says Goyal. A cervicogenic headache is a common and under-diagnosed problem, he says, where the pain could start from the neck and involves back of the head or vice versa.

“When there is a severe headache, which peaks suddenly, known as a thunderclap headache, it is because of blood leakage in the brain. A headache which progressively increases and continues for more than 48 hours or severe one-sided headache indicates structural issues. Evidence of fever, weakness of limbs, trouble with speech or balance, loss of consciousness, seizure, or a headache that wakes a person from sleep, weight loss that occurs along with a headache are a few signs that indicate the need for urgent medical attention,” says Krishnan.

Goyal explains that nausea and vomiting are common in primary and secondary headaches. It is a red flag for a secondary headache if there is persistent vomiting. Seizures, changes in vision, hearing or speech are also a few warning signs of a secondary headache. “Seek medical attention if the frequent headaches are not responding to painkillers and rest,” says Dureja.

Block the way

Benign exertional headaches are manageable with lifestyle modifications and change in exercise routine. “You can reduce the occurrence of exertion headaches with good warm-up exercises, cooling and ventilation in training settings, adequate sleep, nutrition and hydration,” says Dobson.

Krishnan mentions that lowering the intensity of the workout and being well hydrated are useful in the prevention of exertional headaches. “Finding the headache trigger is very critical to managing a primary headache. A person can maintain a pain diary where he can log the severity, period, food taken, any other condition that he experiences during a headache. Such a journal is useful in narrowing down the cause and preventing primary headaches,” says Goyal. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga help prevent primary headaches.

According to Dobson, following can help in avoiding PEH:

Breathe well: Avoid Valsalva maneuver (forceful exhalation with mouth and nose firmly closed) during multiple repetitions of weight lifting. Exhale during the positive phase (when you raise the weight) and inhale during the negative phase (when you lower the weight).

Neutral spine: Maintain a neutral spinal alignment to allow proper circulation through the arteries and veins. It is not essential to keep the back straight when you look up during a squat or a deadlift. Keep the neck and head in a neutral position.

Safety: Larger compound leg movements at the beginning of the workout are safer because exhaustion, exercise induced dehydration and peaking heart rate won’t trigger at the start of the training.

Fitness: Develop cardio respiratory fitness with regular cardiovascular training. General conditioning along with interval training reduces the risk of exertion headaches by developing a healthy cardiovascular system to handle stress. It is necessary to build proper cardiovascular health, stay hydrated and maintain a neutral spine.

 Source: http://www.theweek.in/features/lifestyle/exercise-related-headaches-are-common.html

What are the symptoms of Zika virus?


Fifteen cases of locally transmitted Zika have now been confirmed in South Florida, prompting the CDC to issue an advisory warning pregnant women to avoid travel to the one-square mile area of Miami where most of the infections occurred.

The virus, which is primarily spread through mosquito bites, has been spreading at epidemic levels in Latin America and the Caribbean throughout the last year.

Though Zika virus produces only mild symptoms — or none at all — in most people who are infected, it is particularly worrisome for pregnant women, because it has been found to cause a severe birth defect called microcephaly in babies.

There is no vaccine or cure for the virus.

With news of Zika’s arrival in the mainland U.S., many people have questions about who’s at risk, how Zika spreads, and the warning signs to look out for.

How is Zika transmitted?

Zika is primarily transmitted through the bites of Aedus Agypti mosquitoes. When one of these mosquitoes bites an infected person, it can pick up the virus and then spread it others when it bites them.

The species can bite four or five people in one blood meal, meaning it has the potential to spread the virus rapidly, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden has said.

What are the symptoms of Zika?

Signs of Zika infection may include:

  • Mild fever

  • Skin rash

  • Muscle or joint pain

  • Conjunctivitis

Symptoms appear within 14 days of the initial infection.

However, about four out of five people who are infected with Zika do not experience any symptoms at all and probably don’t know they have it.

“It’s very important to understand that those who are experiencing symptoms aren’t necessarily a good estimate of how many people have been infected,” Dr. Ricardo Lopez, an OBGYN with Orlando Health, told CBS News.

In a small number of patients, the virus can cause more serious neurological problems including temporary paralysis — a condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/zika-virus-symptoms-how-do-you-know-if-youre-infected/