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Red Wine and Weather Conditions Trigger Migraines: Study

Update Date: Jun 22, 2012 09:33 PM EDT

After two recent research reports claiming the benefits of red wine in boosting people's life span and being helpful in blocking fat cell formation, a recent live study states that drinking red wine could set off a migraine.

A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Headache Society in Los Angeles claims that in some people, weather conditions and drinking red wine could trigger excruciating headaches.

A small study examined 33 adult participants in Brazil who drank red-wine regularly and believed that it has caused them migraines in the past. The participants were asked to drink half a bottle (375 milliliters) of a Malbec, Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wine from South America at least four days apart, reported

The results revealed that red-wine caused migraine in most of the participants at least once within 12 hours, but different wines had different effects on the participants.

It was found that Tannat and Malbec, which contain higher levels of flavonoids that give them a rich color, caused more frequent headaches, concluded study lead author Dr. Abouch Krymchantowski,

Lovers of red-wine who suffer from migraine due to drinking the beverage should make right choices and make sure that they pick up the drink with the least amount of tannin content, added Krymchantowski, director and founder of the Headache Center in Rio de Janeiro.

"It's a small study, but it confirms what we hear from patients: Wine can trigger migraines, but not necessarily all the time," said Dr. Brian Grosberg, an assistant professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and co-director of the inpatient headache program at Montefiore Headache Center in New York City, according to the report.

A separate study at the meeting revealed that outside weather conditions can trigger migraines in people sensitive to temperature.

For that study, 66 migraine patients were asked to maintain a journal of their headaches for a year. From the analysis of their journals, it was found that temperature differences affected mild headaches 21 percent of the time, and 5 percent of the time for more severe headaches.

Cold weather affected headaches more than hot days.

"The study provides pioneering evidence that headaches are associated more with temperature among those with subjective temperature sensitivity than those without," said study lead author Dr. Shuu-Jiun Wang, deputy head of the Neurological Institute at Taipei Veterans General Hospital and a professor of neurology at National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine in Taipei, Taiwan.

"If patients report temperature sensitivity, physicians should pay more attention and may adjust preventive agents in certain seasons ... for these patients," he added.

Other factors influencing headaches could include menstrual cycles, lack of sleep, inclement weather and changes in barometric pressure.

It's not clear from these studies if other triggers may have played a role in the onset of migraines, Grosberg said.

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