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Second-hand smoke may be associated with migraines in non-smokers

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec12,2023

Second-hand smoke would be associated with migraines in non-smokers

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Second-hand smoke is associated with intense migraines in non-smokers.

The Canadian Press

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Significant exposure to second-hand smoke is associated with severe headaches or migraines in people who have never smoked, indicates a study published recently by Chinese researchers in the American journal Headache (New window) (in English).

The same association was not seen with modest exposure to second-hand smoke, however.

What is very interesting is that they measured the levels of cotinine, the metabolite of tobacco, which means that we can really see to what extent the exposure Tobacco influences migraine, explains Doctor François Perreault, neurologist at the CHUM headache clinic.

The researchers in fact noted a positive association between a blood level of cotinine which oscillated between 1 and 10 ng/mL and intense headaches or migraines. The same association was not seen when blood cotinine levels ranged from 0.05 to 0.99 ng/mL.

L& #x27;study does not, however, quantify the intensity of these migraines or headaches, underlined Doctor Perreault. The researchers simply asked their participants if they had suffered from a migraine or headache in the past few days, nothing more.

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The intensity of a migraine can vary greatly, recalled Doctor Perreault, ranging from x27;moderate pain which still has a functional impact to a migraine so intense that it is impossible to leave the house.

The intensity of migraine is not correlated [in this study], but we know that severe headaches can be caused [by second-hand smoke].

A quote from François Perreault, neurologist at the CHUM headache clinic

The study also does not specify whether it was a one-off or prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke. The measurement of cotinine in the blood, on the other hand, is an interesting data, he said, since it is much more objective than an estimate, for example, of the time spent in a smoky room.

People who live with migraines know right away that they need to avoid strong odors that could trigger their illness.

In the case of nicotine, explained Dr. Perreault, we are talking about a substance with inflammatory properties. And when we know that the brain, during a migraine attack, is already overwhelmed by a wave of inflammatory substances which overstimulate the pain receptors, we understand the importance of not add.

Nicotine will trigger the release of other inflammatory factors which cause a kind of vasodilation, and we know that this dilation causes even more pain, he said.

This dilation releases other inflammatory factors, so it's a kind of vicious circle [which ] promotes all this inflammatory soup in which the brain is bathed.

A quote from François Perreault, neurologist at the CHUM headache clinic

This study sets the stage for further research that will delve deeper into the association between second-hand smoke and migraines, said Dr. Perreault.

It would be interesting to see if prolonged secondary exposure to a high level of nicotine promotes the chronicity of migraine. Does this ultimately encourage the development of major migraines? he asks.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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