News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinenature-healthhealth — Viewing Item

Neurologist helps people understand migraine triggers { April 27 2006 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Personal Health
What's Triggering Your Migraine?
by Allison Aubrey

Morning Edition, April 27, 2006 · There are a lot of prescription painkillers that relieve migraine headaches. But neurologist David Buchholz of Johns Hopkins University takes his headache patients off the drugs.

"I tell people to use the power they have in their own hands to control their headaches," says Buchholz.

Many headache doctors advise their patients to avoid certain foods and beverages. Caffeine, MSG and chocolate are usually at the top of the list. But Buchholz' list includes many more food products.

Donna Sees first made an appointment to see Buchholz three years ago. At the time, she was suffering with daily headaches. Many of them left her holed-up in her dark bedroom.

"I was in bed. I couldn't stand the light or noise. I couldn't stand to be out in the sun," says Sees. "My head was ready to blow up."

Sees' headaches began when she was 20 years old, and became more severe during her 30s. She used a drug called Imitrex to treat them. But with frequent use, it became less effective and even brought on rebound headaches between doses.

"I was well aware the way I was being treated was not going to help me. I'd given up," she says.

Sees read about Buchholz's strategy in his book, Heal Your Headache. During her first appointment, he gave her his food list. She had heard some of the advice before. For instance, she knew about the link between MSG in Chinese food. She'd also heard about sulfites in red wine. But Buchholz urged her to take a broader view.

"Suppose there are 100 things that trigger headaches. And somebody tells you to avoid two or three of them, but you eat the other 97. You're still going to get a headache," says Sees.

Sees adopted Buchholz's entire diet plan. On a recent trip to a grocery store in Lutherville, Md., Sees and Buchholz pointed out all the migraine triggers.

"The Ramen noodles. They're a total MSG bomb," says Buchholz. "Here we have all these veggie burgers, which would taste like wet straw if they didn't load them up with MSG."

Food labels rarely name monosodium glutamate (MSG). It shows up under aliases such as multodextrin or hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Buchholz recommends avoiding all soy.

"When you process the protein in soy, you liberalize MSG,“ Buchholz says, “so you're basically manufacturing MSG when you make a product like tofu or miso or protein bars."

These foods normally don't cause headaches immediately. The effects can be delayed up to 72 hours. This can make it difficult for people to identify triggers on their own.

Sees has also learned to avoid all fresh produce that contains tyramine. It's a natural food-chemical linked to headaches. Buchholz recommends replacing onions with shallots and leeks.

Tyramine is found in a lot of healthy foods, including bananas, citrus, nuts and cheeses. Aged cheeses contain the most.

"At the young end, there are cheeses such as cottage or American cheese or cream cheese, which don't have much tyramine. As opposed to the other end of the spectrum, there's blue cheese or cheddar, which are loaded with tyramine," says Buchholz.

Avoiding these foods won't eliminate all headaches. There are many other triggers that people can't control. For instance, the weather. Storms, airplane rides and high altitude bring a drop in barometric pressure, which is considered a migraine trigger. Stress and hormones are major culprits as well. People become more vulnerable to headaches when a lot of these triggers stack up.

"Once your trigger level builds up above your own personal preset threshold, a headache-generating mechanism is set into motion. The end product is painful blood-vessel swelling," says Buchholz.

The Buchholz diet plan helps Donna Sees control her headaches. But the results weren't immediate, she says.

"After a few months of doing the diet, I went from having a headache every day down to three days a week," she says. "Then it was two days. I continued to clear my body of these triggers and continued to eat right, and I got better and better."

Sees still gets an occasional headache, but she says they're mild. Two Advil pills will take away the pain. She also has been able to add a little citrus and cheese back into her diet.

But some foods should remain permanently out of the diet, says Buchholz.

"Caffeine is a trigger that utterly fools people," he says. "In the short-run, it may seem as if it's warding off a headache. But in the long-run, caffeine causes rebound headaches."

Some of Buchholz's patients are able to tolerate certain types of alcohol, but he recommends avoiding dark alcohols.

"There's a spectrum of alcoholic beverages. Triggers on the low end are vodka. On the high end would be red wine," says Buchholz.

"It's all dose-related. So, if you keep consumption down and drink water, you can probably get away with it to some degree."

The diet plan is based largely on Buchholz' own observations with patients. He has refined the list through a process of trial and error spread over two decades with a few thousand patients. His theories haven't been proven by controlled studies.

Some headache specialists think he's made too much of the dietary triggers. But Buchholz is convinced that about half his patients benefit from diet alone.

He puts the other half on preventive medications. These aren't painkillers, but prescriptions such as blood-pressure drugs that seem to stop some patients' headaches from escalating.

1 in 3 americans have high blood pressure
1 in 3 kids 00 develop diabetes { June 15 2003 }
12 dangerous dietary supplements
Acupuncture helps arthritic knees
Alzheimers cases top 13m by 2050 { August 19 2003 }
Americans searching for pain relief { May 9 2005 }
Americans sicker than brits with more on health care { May 3 2006 }
Americans want universal health care
Antidepressants linked suicides { October 27 2003 }
Antioxidant rich foods preserve vision
Avoid drugs for migraine relief { May 4 2006 }
Beef business creates anti vegan study { February 21 2005 }
Black health worst condition { October 12 2003 }
Bran diet lowers risk of heart disease
Breastfeeding fights arthritis
Breastfeeding fights diabetes in mother
Britain leads the world in anti depressants
Britiain US worst western nations for children
Burger king down
Carpal tunnel from mouse not keyboard { June 17 2003 }
Chlorine in pools damages lungs
Cholesterol drugs not having effect
Cholesterol inhibitors in garlic identified
Chopsticks can be harmful
Dangerous dietary supplements { April 7 2004 }
Dark chocolate aids blood flow { August 29 2004 }
Dark chocolate health benefits { June 1 2004 }
Depression pills { May 7 2002 }
Doctors calls for national health insurance { August 12 2003 }
Doctors rally around universal health care
Drinking can shrink the brain { December 8 2003 }
Excercise generates new stem cells and vessels { September 5 2007 }
Exercise helps elderly mental sharpness
Exercise helps the brain work better
Facts on soy { April 13 2004 }
Faster aging with obesity and smoking { June 15 2005 }
Fats not increase stroke risk { October 3 2003 }
Federal warning on tuna mercury danger { December 11 2003 }
Fiber benefit found { May 2 2003 }
Floride linked low iq { August 25 2003 }
Garlic study may give herb a boost
German doctor cures aids with garlic and olive oil { November 29 2005 }
Girls meat milk dioxin warning
Green tea may prevent hiv { November 10 2003 }
Headphones use causes hearing loss
Heavy lifting protects heart
Heavy social drinkers show brain damage
High blood pressure up { July 9 2003 }
High lead found in boston water { April 28 2004 }
Hormone treated beef is dangerous to human health { October 16 2003 }
Hospital tries to remove mcdonalds from premises
Indians heart attack
Irradiated meat
Lead scare prompts EPA review of rules { July 23 2004 }
Loud music can damage lungs
Mcdonalds closes 175 { November 8 2002 }
Mcdonalds fries contain potential allergens
Mcdonalds lawsuit dismissed { January 22 2003 }
Mcdonalds lied again about its french fries
Mcdonalds meat fries { May 24 2001 }
Mcdonalds trans acids
Medical injuries kill 32000 annually
Milk and redmeat inflamation { September 29 2003 }
More evidence vegetarian diet may stop cancer
Ms vd
Neurologist helps people understand migraine triggers { April 27 2006 }
New study says slouching is better sitting
Nine heart risk factors { August 30 2004 }
Pills no proven to provide benefits from vegetables
Prozac may stunt growing bones
Salmon dye must be labeled { May 2 2003 }
Salmonella [pdf]
Sanitation is greatest medical milestone { January 18 2007 }
Seeds of dementia sown in midlife health diet lifestyle
Soy best for lowering cholesterol
Soy thyroid function
Stress can cause common cold or cancer
Study links drinking brain tissue loss
Supplements work
Survey finds millions new drug abusers
Sushi tuna found to have dangerous mercury levels { January 23 2008 }
Toddlers tv watching linked to attention deficit { April 5 2004 }
Tomato juice may stave off heart troubles { August 22 2004 }
Toxic mercury in environment causing autism { March 17 2005 }
Trans fats worse saturated fats { July 9 2003 }
Uncooked foods healthier { July 17 2000 }
Us health care spending surges again { January 9 2004 }
Vegan sues mcdonalds over french fries again { February 17 2006 }
Vitamins and calcium help pms symptons { June 17 2005 }
Watching TV causes hormone imbalance { June 28 2004 }
Wifi may endanger childrens health { April 22 2007 }

Files Listed: 91


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple